Kimi Raikkonen was his usual non-committal self when it came to assessing his preparations for the Italian Grand Prix, although he admitted that he was hoping for a better showing in front of Ferrari's passionate fans.
Acknowledging that the tifosi
made the Monza weekend different from any other, the Finn reflected on his poor fortune at the Autodromo Nazionale in previous visits – he has three podium appearances in twelve races but no win – before conceding that getting back into the top three would be a good result this time around.
“Obviously, none of them have been ideal because I haven't managed to win,” he confirmed, “I have had some good speed quite often, but something has always happened and we have not been able to be on top. We will try again and, hopefully, we will have a good strong week and we can give a good result for the team and all the fans.”
With the Monza's future on the F1 calendar under threat, Raikkonen's chances of delivering a result for the fans could be running out, making this weekend more important as Ferrari attempts to reinforce its position as the closest threat to Mercedes.
“It's a home race for us and the closest race to my home,” the Finn noted, “Monza has a lot of history as a place and it's nice to come here with a lot of fans - I think, when we're driving, you really don't see or feel a difference but, obviously outside, it's more busy and they're more fans and people interested in motorsport. It would be a great shame if we never came back to this kind of place because of the history and the nature of the place. I hope we can have a good weekend and, hopefully, we can make a good result."
Ferrari's hopes of victory were dealt an early blow when Mercedes turned up at Monza with uprated engines, having spent its final seven development tokens for the run-in to Abu Dhabi. Nevertheless, Raikkonen finished the day in the top six, a handful of tenths off team-mate Sebastian Vettel, after what he described as an ordinary Friday.
"It was more or less the same as any other race weekend but, obviously, there is some work to be done," he reported, “It's difficult to say [how things will work out] because it's the first real low-downforce circuit. I guess it's easier to wait to see roughly where we are and what we think.”