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Raikkonen keeps counsel on controversy.

Kimi Raikkonen has made his first comment on the controversy that surrounded the closing laps of last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix but, in typical fashion, added very little to the debate that has raged since Spa.

The Finn had led almost the entire way when rain crept over the Ardennes, making conditions increasingly tricky and allowing the chasing Lewis Hamilton to close in and create a two-way battle for victory. Matters came to a head when the Briton made a move on the Ferrari at the Bus Stop with a couple of laps remaining, only to overshoot his mark and cut through the chicane. Although he backed off to allow Raikkonen to retake the lead, Hamilton then ducked back inside the Finn at the next corner to retake the lead - a move that, despite Raikkonen's subsequent retirement, saw the Briton slapped with a 25-second time penalty that dropped him from first to third.

"In one way, it was a racing incident, but there are rules to cover these situations," Raikkonen told journalists at Monza, as his regular press briefing opened with the inevitable questions about the situation, "I am not the man who makes those rules and those who do took the decision that they did. I don't have anything to say about it, except that, obviously, I prefer a race to be decided on the track, not after it is over - but the rules are there to follow."

The Finn's spin into retirement on the penultimate lap not only robbed spectators of a fight to the finish with Hamilton, but also appeared to hammer another nail into the coffin being prepared for his 2008 world championship hopes. Raikkonen, however, insists that he is not about to give up on a second title until the figures say otherwise.

"It's easy to say afterwards that I could have settled for second place, but I wanted to win and I went for it," he reflected, "It cost me some points, but at least I had more fun at Spa than I had in some other races.

"The position I am in now means that, in terms of the championship, I have nothing to lose, so that opens up more choices in how I tackle the remaining races. I will do the best I can and, hopefully, I can get back to the front and try and win the championship.

"Once there is no chance of mathematically taking the title, then that will be the time to think about how I might help Felipe. But you can never be sure what will happen - look at how last season ended..... Maybe I can fight back. For now, though, the two of us will be racing as hard as we can."

With rain forecast for most of the Italian GP weekend, doubt will be cast on Ferrari's chance to take the fight to McLaren and, in particular, Hamilton, who has shown the greatest wet-weather prowess over recent races.

"As far as the actual driving conditions at the time of the [Spa] incident were concerned, when you are in front, it is a bit trickier as you don't know what to expect, whereas the guy behind gets some warning, which helps him to read the situation," Raikkonen pointed out, attempting to defend his Belgian performance, "Out in front, you just try and go as quick as the grip level will let you go.

"I knew that, if it started raining, it would be hard to keep out in front. I would have come in to change onto the rain tyres, but I never made the final couple of hundred metres to get to the pits!

"I know from the past that McLaren is always strong [at Monza] but, hopefully, this year we can try and challenge them for the win. We had a pretty good test here before Spa and the car is stronger here this year than a year ago. It will be hard to beat them, but I think we have quite a good chance. Let's see how the next two days go."


Related Pictures

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Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F2008, Italian F1 Grand Prix, Monza, 12th-14th, September, 2008
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steve - Unregistered

September 13, 2008 12:37 AM

Would Hamilton have been right on Kimi's ass down the straight had he not cut the chicane? No, there would have been a gap like there always is. It was a harsh penalty but he did deserve to be penalized.

DAMON RUSSELL

September 12, 2008 8:05 PM

See what your saying Rob, but the run-off is there for a reason and many drivers have run wide in the past to get out of gaol free, especially on the starts with not a hint of inspection from the stewards, so while it goes unpunished, drivers will continue to do it so I think cheating is a bit of a heavy statement. Take the wide line or get rear ended like poor old Trully.



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