Kimi Raikkonen has vowed to put the disappointment of retiring from last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix behind him - by triumphing around the streets of Monaco and getting his championship bid back on-track.

The Finn - who entered the 2007 campaign in many observers' eyes as the favourite for the crown - now trails leader Lewis Hamilton in the drivers' standings by eight points following his failure to score in Barcelona. More worryingly still, since his victory in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, he has now been outpaced for three meetings on the trot by team-mate Felipe Massa. He insists, however, there is no reason to panic just yet.

"I am not the type to go over what has happened," Raikkonen asserted, "and I'm not about to start now. This is part of racing and it's impossible to change what has happened. Retiring from a race is the worst part of our sport; points have been lost and there's no going back.

"The true effect of this retirement will only be known at the end of the season, but I am nevertheless very happy for Felipe who drove a fantastic race, managing the situation in fine style after the start. I am happy for him and for the team, even if we were unable to get the best possible result."

The 27-year-old was sandwiching the McLaren-Mercedes duo of Hamilton and reigning double world champion Fernando Alonso at the time of his premature exit in Spain, curtailing what he believes could have been a second-place finish.

"Suddenly on lap nine I lost all the electrics on the car," he explained. "There was nothing I could do but come back to the pits. I was third and, with the strategy we had chosen, I think I could have had a good race.

"It's difficult following someone, but I think I could have passed Hamilton in the run of pit-stops. We will never now know how it might have finished up. In qualifying my speed through the first two sectors was great, but by the end of the lap I was losing a bit of grip. We still need to fine-tune the set-up a bit to get things right.

"I asked the team if I could leave quickly afterwards and I'm pleased they saw that giving me permission was the right thing to do. I arrived home in Wollerau in time to see the final stages of the ice hockey world championship final, but Finland lost to Canada. Obviously it just wasn't a good day!"

Due to join the test session at Paul Ricard in the south of France tomorrow (Thursday), Raikkonen remained optimistic about his chances of glory over the course of the campaign, and made it clear he will be bidding to emulate his success of 2005 when the circus arrives in Monaco in a week-and-a-half's time.

"I will test for two days after Felipe has had his turn," he said, "and we will work on trying to adapt the car as much as possible to my driving style, while also trying new components for the forthcoming races.

"Then it will be time for Monaco. It's one of my favourite tracks because I really like street circuits, so I'm pleased to see there will soon be more of them on the calendar. I can't wait to race through the streets of the Principality in the hope, of course, of repeating my result there from two years ago.

"There are still 13 races to go and I am only eight points down on the leader. Of course I would like to be at the top of the classification, but there is still no reason to worry about it yet."

 

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