Kimi Raikkonen is a former winner and a two-time pole sitter at the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix. He dominated from pole to win in 2005 and scored a second pole on the street circuit four years ago.
The 21-time Grand Prix winner believes it’s a unique street track on the calendar because of how narrow and tight it is, even compared to the likes of Singapore and Albert Park in Melbourne.
“It's different to many any other [places]. We have other street circuits but this is for sure the most narrow and tight [one]. [With] other ones you kind of get a feeling that it’s a kind of half and half job.”
Overtaking is incredibly difficult in Monte Carlo and Raikkonen admits it can be a very long day if you are stuck in traffic.
“I think the races can sometimes be... it depends where you are in the race but if you’re stuck behind a lot of cars, it’s a long race.”
Raikkonen is no stranger to this venue and will start his 18th Monaco GP this weekend. The Alfa driver says you have to pay more attention around here despite all his experience and getting the set-up right is critical to give you confidence around such an unforgiving place.
“I guess in certain ways yes you have to because if any small lock-up or anything there’s not much space to recover from it. If you get the car right then you know exactly what it’s gonna do, you can push the same like in other places.
“I think the key is to make the car work and knowing what it’s gonna do so then it will allow you to kind of push the limits much more.”
The 2007 World Champion also believes drivers these days are more aggressive these days when it comes to defending their position. He believes blocking is harder now and fights in the past were not so rude.
Raikkonen had some controversial clashes with Verstappen in 2016 as the Dutchman left a number of his rivals irate that year because of some of his defensive moves.
“I think in the past, when I started [in 2001], it was probably a bit more fair games in a way between drivers,” said Raikkonen, according to RaceFans.net. “If you were overtaking, I wouldn’t say that somebody let you past but it maybe wasn’t so rude, in a way, or blocking that much, or doing those things.”
In recent years, rules have come into place to cut down on dangerous and late defensive moves, as well as tweaks to the rules of racing in general.
“We didn’t need rules for this kind of thing in that time,” he said. “Obviously every sport has changed over years and it’s a part of the thing.”
“The big difference is that they made a rule for everything,” Raikkonen added. “There’s so many rules that whatever you basically do you can find a rule for it. If it’s good or bad for you that depends, obviously what you have done.”