F1 »

Raikkonen: It`s time to concentrate again.

Kimi Raikkonen admits that he needs to focus on the final seven races of the Formula One season, but insists that he should not be written out of the world championship battle just yet.

Perhaps reacting to the comments of three-time world champion Niki Lauda, who suggested that the Finn was not even a wild card contender for the 2008 title, Raikkonen pointed out that he had actually closed the gap on points leader Lewis Hamilton ahead of the summer break, and was still close enough to the Briton to launch an assault on a second crown.

Although the results do not necessarily show it, Raikkonen is aware that he - and Ferrari - have not been on top form through the middle of the season, and has vowed to ride his luck and improve matters over the final seven races of the season, starting at this weekend's inaugural European Grand Prix in Valencia.

"The break is over and it's time for the last part of the season to start - it's time to concentrate again on my work," the Finn admitted as Formula One regroups after the extended break since Hungary, "F1 is a sport, which never stops, and the team has worked hard to be ready for the race in Valencia. From now on, every single race will be extremely important - and every single point will have a great value. The less there are, the more important they become."

Raikkonen heads to the first of the season's new calendar additions lying five points adrift of Hamilton, but still in second place after team-mate Felipe Massa lost an almost certain win just three laps from home in Budapest. With both drivers still firmly in contention - and Raikkonen's form inconsistent - the Scuderia is unlikely to throw its weight behind the reigning champion just yet, but the Finn is confident that he can establish himself as the team's best chance of taking the title.

"This season shows that you should never give up," he insisted, "There were some races where things didn't go well but, for one reason or another, I was able to collect some precious points. My position after Hungary is better than before the race.

"We haven't lost anything, but we need to get better results - consistently. I think that the outcome of the championship will be very tight, with Ferrari and McLaren very close together in terms of performance and three drivers in a position to win the title. I need to have at least one point more than my competitors after the last race of the season - this is the sole aim, the rest is details."

With time running out, and Hamilton seemingly benefiting from a shared upswing in form at McLaren, Raikkonen knows that he needs to make the unfamiliarity of this weekend's venue count in his favour. Although Valencia has its own permanent track at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Formula One will use the latest flagship street circuit to hit the schedules, built around the city's Americas Cup port, as the European GP switches from the Nurburgring - where it capitalised on Michael Schumacher's popularity - to Spain, in deference to double world champion Fernando Alonso.

"We have to start well at Valencia, where it's more important than in other places to drive with continuity from Friday on," Raikkonen commented, "I've only seen the new track from the position of an on-board camera, but it seems to be very fast for a street circuit. I always love to drive on new tracks and I am always very quick to know them, so I can't wait to race at Valencia.

"I just hope I'll have a trouble-free weekend to try to set the car up in the best way possible, especially for the qualifying lap. Qualifying will be extremely important, although I think that there are some possibilities on the track to overtake. If it's hot, that will help Ferrari but, like Montreal, you also need a bit of luck - and I hope that it will not end for me as it did in Canada."

Raikkonen posted his only retirement of the season so far on the semi-permanent track at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, but is optimistic that he can bring the F2008 home - and in a strong position - when the season gets underway again this weekend.

"There's no need to worry until we race," he insisted, "And then we just have to fight until the end and try to win...."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F2008, Hungarian F1, Hungaroring, 1st-3rd, August, 2008
24.05.2017 - Massimo Rivola (ITA), Ferrari Driver Academy and Guenther Steiner (ITA) Haas F1 Team Prinicipal
24.05.2017 - Ferrari garage
24.05.2017 - A fan of Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
24.05.2017 - Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
24.05.2017 - Guenther Steiner (ITA) Haas F1 Team Prinicipal and Claudio Albertini, Ferrari Head of Customer Teams Power Unit Operations
24.05.2017 - Mattia Binotto (ITA) Chief Technical Officer, Scuderia Ferrari
24.05.2017 - Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
24.05.2017 - Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
24.05.2017 - Scuderia Ferrari SF70H, detail
24.05.2017 - Scuderia Ferrari SF70H, detail
24.05.2017 - Scuderia Ferrari SF70H, detail
24.05.2017 - Scuderia Ferrari SF70H, detail
24.05.2017 - Mattia Binotto (ITA) Chief Technical Officer, Scuderia Ferrari and Diego Ioverno (ITA) Ferrari Operations Director
Fernando Alonso greets fans at the Spanish Grand Prix
14.05.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
14.05.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
14.05.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H leads Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


August 20, 2008 1:14 PM

Your fans are behind you Kimi. If you become a back to back champ or not, we will still be behind you. As for Lauda, he''s a has been who failed in a managerial F1 role and couldn''t spot a winner in a champions convention!

matt - Unregistered

August 20, 2008 1:42 PM

Well put DEMON 1GP I think KIMI will do it again this year and as for Lauda well i accept that he has his own opinion it just always seems to be the wrong one. Lets see how lewis will handle the pressure again this year in another 3 way fight because in my opinion the pressure got to him last year. Matt

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.