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Raikkonen: I`m not giving up.


Kimi Raikkonen has revealed that he only had one thing on his mind during Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps - and will carry the same thought through the remainder of the Formula One season.

The reigning world champion went into the Ardennes already trailing Lewis Hamilton by 13 points and, while acknowledging that his hopes of a second successive title weren't exactly over, knew that he needed to make quick inroads into the deficit before the F1 season left Europe.

"I had just one goal when I came to Belgium - victory," he revealed, "I just wanted to win the race, as anything else would not have been enough for me, because it meant that my competitors could have widened the gap."

Faced with growing calls for Ferrari to back team-mate Felipe Massa in a head-to-head duel with Hamilton and McLaren, Raikkonen knew that he also needed to start closing the gap before his own team called time on his ambitions, and gave himself the best chance of silencing the critics by qualifying on the second row for a race he had won three times previously.

Taking advantage of a good first lap, he was in position to capitalise on a Hamilton mistake at La Source second time around, before pulling away to what looked likely to be a comfortable victory. His only concern appeared to be Hamilton's better pace on the harder of the two Bridgestone tyre options, which allowed the Briton to close the gap between them in the final stint.

However, neither driver had factored in the effect that rain, which had been forecast as a possibility for the closing stages, would have on either the result or their championship chances.

The initial precipitation allowed Hamilton, renowned for his ability in the wet, to close right in on the Ferrari, eventually passing it at La Source after a contentious move at the preceding chicane saw the Briton cut the corner before backing off to allow Raikkonen back ahead. From there, the ever-changing levels of grip saw both drivers make mistakes that saw the lead swap between them, before Hamilton finally made it stick and Raikkonen ended up putting the Ferrari into the wall approaching the Fagnes chicane.

"I had a good start from the second row and it was great to fight immediately for victory," Raikkonen reminisced, "I overtook the two drivers in front of me and then I could do my race, controlling the situation.

"In the end, though, I missed my goal for the weekend by just two laps and four minutes. It was really difficult to drive in the rain. Since the beginning of the last stint, I had some problems with the hard compound, and the rain didn't help at all. The circuit was extremely slippery and I was sliding the whole way through. I got back into the lead, but then I hit the wall and was left empty-handed.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F2008, Belgian F1 Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps, 5-7th, September, 2008
French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard
Kimi Raikkonen tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Lewis Hamilton tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Daniel Ricciardo tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Kimi Raikkonen tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
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Matt G

September 10, 2008 8:50 AM

Is it just me, or is that a message to Ferrari indicating that he won't roll over and support Massa's title bid. I could see the Ferrari's tripping over each other before the year is out. M



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