Kimi Raikkonen says Ferrari needs to focus on getting a clean race weekend and can then hope it gets “a welcome surprise” at the Italian Grand Prix.
Ferrari heads to its home race without a victory this season, with Fernando Alonso's second place in Hungary the team's best result of a difficult year. In the face of Mercedes' dominance and back-to-back victories for Red Bull, success looks tough at Monza but Raikkonen said Ferrari's performance at Spa – where it expected to struggle – gives him confidence that the potential for a strong weekend is there.
“Obviously we hope to do well, it's our home race and there are a lot of fans for Ferrari,” Raikkonen said. “So we hope to do really well, but we try to do the maximum every race and if we can get a clean race and put ourselves in a good position after qualifying we can do our own stuff and not worry too much about the others. Then usually you get the best possible results that our speed deserves.
“That's the aim for the next race again and hopefully we get a welcome surprise with our speed there. Like I've said before, [Spa] and the next race look more difficult for us. It wasn't too bad [in Spa], but is it the same for the next race? I hope so; we have to go there, do the best we can and see where we are.”
And Raikkonen said Ferrari's deficit to the front of the grid could not be solely put down to the power unit, though that disadvantage is more obvious over a race distance.
“We are a bit down on power. I think we ran with the downforce that we should to be able to do our maximum speed over the lap. In qualifying conditions over one lap it's not too bad but in the race we're suffering more against those cars. They can charge more and have a bigger advantage than over one lap; it's a big difference for us between one lap and the race. That's the biggest issue.
“For sure we don't have the horsepower in the engine that they have but I think the recovery that they can achieve against us is probably the bigger problem right now. But we improved that and for sure it's much better than it was at the beginning of the year. Little by little we are getting stronger on every side; it's not just the engine or the electronics. For sure we don't have the downforce that some of the other teams has so it's the package.
“We are not bad in any of the areas but we are not good either. We are missing a bit everywhere with the car itself, downforce, mechanical grip and engine power, but some circuits are better for us than others and we keep working and improving things little by little.”