Kimi Raikkonen has admitted that he drove through the pain barrier at Monza on Sunday, both mentally and physically.

The most obvious discomfort came from the after-effects of the Finn's sizeable shunt in Saturday practice which, despite going along with Ferrari's claim of driver error immediately after the incident, he admits remains a mystery.

"I still don't know what exactly happened," he revealed, "I arrived at the Ascari and braked but, when I was just below 300km/h, the wheels blocked right on a kerb and the back of the car suddenly lost all its downforce. It had a very hard swerve and I ended up against the wall to my right. There was absolutely nothing I could have done but waiting for the impact to happen.

"The telemetry didn't give any hint on an error or damage, just like the analysis of the car in Maranello, as the technicians told me. The impact was very hard, but the consequences, as often happens in these kind of accidents, I could only feel the next day - unfortunately, it was the day of the race.

"My neck really hurt - we did everything we could to put me back in shape, but there was not enough time left. This was undeniably the most painful race I've ever had. It's really difficult to drive when you can't hold your head up and, when I was braking, I had trouble to see the corners correctly. After a couple of days, everything would have been fine."

With McLaren taking a 1-2 finish ahead of the lone remaining Ferrari in the race, Raikkonen acknowledges that the accident had a major impact on his chances of remaining firmly in the title fight, but also pointed to the Woking team's record at Monza.

"We knew that it was going be a hard race, because McLaren has always been very strong there," he commented, "Last year, with a not really perfect car, I could manage to get the pole. During the tests over the last week, we could see that our competitors would have been really strong, and we were not quick enough to win at the weekend.

"It's true I could have managed to gain second place, but I could not hold the position I gained thanks to our strategy. I could see Hamilton coming closer on the main straight, but I couldn't brake any closer to the corner, while he had the advantage of fresh tyres, the softer ones."

Despite dropping further behind in the championship, however, the Finn refuses to concede that he can win the title, mindful perhaps that everything could be upset in Thursday's appeal hearing.

"We will fight as long as arithmetic allows us to," he insisted "We can't leave anything undone. We had a good test at Spa-Francorchamps last July and I'm 100 per cent fit in terms of physical fitness as, after the race, I took some painkillers and relaxed a bit.

"The next race is my preferred circuit. It's a wonderful place [and] I always loved to race there. I like the latest modifications of the track and there are some very fast and challenging corners, where we could exploit some of the qualities of the F2007. We'll give it everything to win - I've been twice on the central step of the podium there at the last two races and I want to get back there next Sunday!"

 

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