Though he may not be returning to the scene of his greatest success in Formula 1 to-date in a position to defend his hard-won drivers' crown, Kimi Raikkonen admits he would like nothing more than victory in Brazil this weekend to end a 'not so positive' campaign in 2008 on a more positive note.
The Finn officially dropped out of title contention following the Japanese Grand Prix earlier this month, but he has conceded that he knew his hopes of back-to-back championship triumphs were over when he crashed away a possible win – and certainly at least the runner-up position – in the closing stages of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps five weeks earlier.
Though it has been far from a sparkling season for the 17-time grand prix winner – who has stood atop the podium on just two occasions and been routinely out-performed by Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa in both qualifying and the races – in the last two grands prix he has appeared to rediscover something of his old mojo.
As such, he heads to Interlagos knowing he has a realistic chance of victory – provided he is not called upon to aid Massa's title challenge.
“We're ahead of the season's last race and the last possibility to taste the pleasure of racing for a while,” reflected the recently-turned 29-year-old. “This is what a driver loves most – putting on the helmet and fighting for the win.
“I want to fight for victory in Brazil and celebrate a good result with the team; this would give me a good feeling for the winter and the upcoming season, [because] there are not so many positive things for me I achieved over the last season.
“We have to analyse every single detail of what happened and try to learn from our mistakes to improve everything for next year – but now we have to give it all at the last race of the 2008 season.
“I'm happy to be in Brazil again. Interlagos is a track where there are often really exciting races. We drive anti-clockwise here, which is very demanding, but more than anything else this place reminds me of something very special. Last year I won the race and the title, something really extraordinary.
“The Ferrari [has] very often [gone] very well on this track, and I hope it will be the same this year. We're fighting for both titles, just like in 2007. We'll try [for] a one-two win again. Winning the constructors' championship is very important for every team, and even more so for Ferrari.”