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Raikkonen suggests Ferrari running heavy in Fuji.

Defending Formula 1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen – who will almost certainly be forced to concede his trophy should he fail to triumph in this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix – has suggested that he is carrying a heavy fuel load on-board his Ferrari after lining up second on the grid at Fuji Speedway.

The Finn has not won a race in the top flight since the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona all the way back in April, and what's more his front row starting slot represents his highest grid position since he took pole for the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours almost four months ago.

Whilst Raikkonen is widely expected to be called upon by Ferrari now to aid team-mate Felipe Massa's title bid, he is still not mathematically out of contention himself, which could pose the Scuderia with an interesting dilemma. Should he prevail on Sunday with Massa and Hamilton failing to score, the 28-year-old would be just ten points behind the former and 17 markers adrift of the latter with two races to go – and from the same position this time twelve months ago, he went on to clinch the crown…

“I'm pleased to be back on the front row,” Raikkonen acknowledged, “even if I'm not totally happy as I always want to be the fastest. On top of that, I'm not completely satisfied with the handling of my car – all weekend we have worked very hard to find the best set-up, but we did not get it a hundred per cent right.

“All-the-same, we have improved our performance, especially with a heavy fuel load. This result means I'm in good shape for the race [and] tomorrow I will try to make the best of the situation. My aim is to finish this season in the best way possible, and help the team to win both championships.”

Maranello's team principal Stefano Domenicali and technical director Luca Baldisserri were both clearly pleased to see Raikkonen return to form after such a long period spent in the doldrums – and whether it is him or Massa who ultimately goes on to battle for the drivers' laurels, the 17-time grand prix-winner's belated resurgence has clearly not come a moment too soon.

“Kimi did a good job and managed to get back onto the front row,” underlined Domenicali. “Tomorrow, we can expect to have to fight our way up to the front, especially given the positions of our closest rivals.

“It will be a long race in which tyre performance, strategy and the overall teamwork will – as usual – play a decisive role in terms of the final outcome, as of course will the need for absolute reliability.”

“Kimi was comfortable on the heavy fuel load and managed to do a great lap to get onto the front row,” added Domenicali. “Tomorrow we will be up against very strong opposition, and we will do our utmost to get both our cars ahead of them.”


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F2008, Japanese F1, Fuji, 10th-12th, October, 2008
French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard
Kimi Raikkonen 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]
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34
27.11.2016 - Race,Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H  leads Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34 and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 leads Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H

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Benjo - Unregistered

October 11, 2008 8:19 PM

Kerry, I think it slightly wrong to knock any world champion, how ever little they win by they are still the champion...the history books will read 05 - Alonso 06 - Alonso 07 - Raikonnen 08 - Massa/Hamilton My point being that in decades time people wont remember what went on, you can not take away something as big as a world championship from any one. The one who deserves it most will be the driver with the most points at the end. To think otherwise is to show a blatent bias in either direction

Mark Miller

October 11, 2008 9:08 PM

F1 Fan, what are you talking about? I think you have your facts backwards, I don't think Kimi has EVER intentionaly taken someone out, he has way to much class. On the other hand that low class gangsta rap loving fool HAMI has taken out a ferrari out on more than once. You are right about one thing we WILL be watching! :)



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