Kimi Raikkonen: Enjoying myself away from F1 makes me a better driver

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Kimi Raikkonen says the opportunity to party and enjoy himself between races, makes him more focused as a racing driver.

The 2007 world champion has become a fan favourite for his chilled out, no-nonsense approach in Formula 1, but there have been times when another Kimi has shone through.

He famously walked straight to his yacht after retiring during the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix and last year, was the soul of the FIA gala with his drunken antics.

That can be at odds with the super-strict boundaries most athletes live within today, but Raikkonen believes it is good to unwind.

“Obviously it’s been a joke often,” the now Alfa Romeo driver said to F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast.

“But I actually think it’s more true that I’ve often been driving better [after] doing whatever I want between the races than if I’m just not having fun and drinks and stuff.

“There’s too many proven theories… that it might work better after you’ve had a bit more fun," Raikkonen suggested.

“I always thought that [it makes you] more relaxed and you need to put more effort and concentration in [on track] because you’re a bit unsure. And then the end result comes better.”

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Now in what very much a new stage in his career returning to the former Sauber team, where he began in 2001, the 39-year-old is hoping to move the team forward under it's new Alfa Romeo name.

And his new boss Fred Vasseur is hoping the momentum that was started last year can be maintained in 2019.

“Our arrival in Melbourne symbolises the start of another big opportunity for our team after making excellent progress and showing our potential over the past year,” the Frenchman said.

“We are eager to have a positive start to the 2019 season. We have a great driver line-up and a strong backing from our team across all departments – at our factory as well as at the race track.

“I look forward to seeing where we stand in these early stages and we will push hard to continue working our way up the ranks in the coming months.”

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