Kimi Raikkonen has admitted that he has some 'unfinished business' to take care of when the F1 circus touches down in Singapore this weekend, aware that another podium finish will go a long way to keeping him in the championship hunt.
The Finn returns to the Far Eastern street circuit for the first time since quitting F1 at the end of the 2009 season determined to open his account there after failing to finish in each of his previous two appearances. Now up into third overall in the standings, he knows that every point will be vital in his bid to overhaul leader Fernando Alonso, whom he trails by 38 with seven races remaining.
"I really like going to Singapore," Raikkonen admitted, "I have some unfinished business after my two GPs there so far, as I have never scored a point. That doesn't mean I'm not quick there, as I've been told I still hold the lap record from 2008, but I crashed while fighting for fifth place that year and finished down in tenth in 2009, so I want better this time.
"We've lost some points to Fernando, which is not so good, but we still managed a decent result in Italy and it's good to be up to third in the championship. It's impossible to say how this season will turn out, but we're very close to second. We'll see what happens in the next few races. Obviously, the podium is a target again. We have had six podiums so far and scored as many points as the top guys in last few races. We have managed to get everything out of our package, and, hopefully, we are able to
carry on in the next races, too."
Despite having had differing fortunes on the two street races held so far in 2013, Raikkonen is hoping that the revised E20 will be suited to Singapore.
"Monaco was not that good for us, but Valencia was one of the best weekends so far and, obviously, there is no reason why Singapore should be any different to Valencia," the Finn reasoned, "Like at every street circuit, it's very difficult to pass other cars there, so starting the race as high as possible on the grid is a very important factor to get a good result.
"Everybody will bring updates to this race, so we'll have to see what difference that makes. It's a case of trying to get the maximum from our package and working on achieving the best balance. If we get everything right, we should do okay. We didn't have enough speed in the car [at Monza] and we were thinking that sixth or seventh would be a realistic finishing position, so fifth was probably the maximum we could have achieved. Our speed down the straights wasn't so good, which made it quite tricky to defend from cars behind. When you look at it like that, it's not a bad result."
Singapore is the only true 'night' race on the F1 schedule, and presents very different challenges to the likes of Australia and Malaysia, which have run into the evening in recent years, but Raikkonen does not expect to have too many problems adapting.
"In the first two years of this GP, I was a little bit surprised by how people were talking so much about the different timing," he claimed, "When they switch on the lights, it's exactly the same as racing in the day time. I think everybody in F1 enjoys the night race - it's worked out really well as it's a buzzing city and lots of people turn up. Apart from one or two dark spots in the run-off areas, the circuit is very well lit, so there is not a big difference to racing in the day.
"Every year they say that it will rain when the evening comes, [but] we'll see when we're there. It's no use to worry about it. It will be the same for everybody anyway...."