Kimi Raikkonen has revealed that he only had one thing on his mind during Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps - and will carry the same thought through the remainder of the Formula One season.

The reigning world champion went into the Ardennes already trailing Lewis Hamilton by 13 points and, while acknowledging that his hopes of a second successive title weren't exactly over, knew that he needed to make quick inroads into the deficit before the F1 season left Europe.

"I had just one goal when I came to Belgium - victory," he revealed, "I just wanted to win the race, as anything else would not have been enough for me, because it meant that my competitors could have widened the gap."

Faced with growing calls for Ferrari to back team-mate Felipe Massa in a head-to-head duel with Hamilton and McLaren, Raikkonen knew that he also needed to start closing the gap before his own team called time on his ambitions, and gave himself the best chance of silencing the critics by qualifying on the second row for a race he had won three times previously.

Taking advantage of a good first lap, he was in position to capitalise on a Hamilton mistake at La Source second time around, before pulling away to what looked likely to be a comfortable victory. His only concern appeared to be Hamilton's better pace on the harder of the two Bridgestone tyre options, which allowed the Briton to close the gap between them in the final stint.

However, neither driver had factored in the effect that rain, which had been forecast as a possibility for the closing stages, would have on either the result or their championship chances.

The initial precipitation allowed Hamilton, renowned for his ability in the wet, to close right in on the Ferrari, eventually passing it at La Source after a contentious move at the preceding chicane saw the Briton cut the corner before backing off to allow Raikkonen back ahead. From there, the ever-changing levels of grip saw both drivers make mistakes that saw the lead swap between them, before Hamilton finally made it stick and Raikkonen ended up putting the Ferrari into the wall approaching the Fagnes chicane.

"I had a good start from the second row and it was great to fight immediately for victory," Raikkonen reminisced, "I overtook the two drivers in front of me and then I could do my race, controlling the situation.

"In the end, though, I missed my goal for the weekend by just two laps and four minutes. It was really difficult to drive in the rain. Since the beginning of the last stint, I had some problems with the hard compound, and the rain didn't help at all. The circuit was extremely slippery and I was sliding the whole way through. I got back into the lead, but then I hit the wall and was left empty-handed.

"Obviously that wasn't the result we were looking for, but it was great to be back to fight for the title. [The outcome] was just like at Valencia, when I had to walk back to the pits but, this time, unlike in Spain, I fought for victory right until the end. I had the right feeling with the car and the Spa circuit is just the most beautiful track for a Formula One race.

"There's no point in complaining now - I did my very best, but it wasn't enough. These things happen. It's the same in ice hockey or in motocross - you give and you take, but you never give up."

Despite now being even further behind Hamilton, despite the Briton heading to Monza having been stripped of his Spa win, 'giving up' still remains far from Raikkonen's mind.

"I'm not worried about what happened and I'll fight right until the end," he insisted, "The points will be counted at the end of the season, and there are still five races to go. My actual position is not ideal but, as I've said many times, I'm not someone who gives up easily.

"We're going back to the track immediately for the Italian GP. Monza is the Mecca of Ferrari's tifosi and I think that there will be a lot of Finnish fans too. It's the fastest track of the year and it's good to go there knowing that I can count on a car which runs how I like it.

"Last year, I had a nasty accident on Saturday morning. I hit the wall and the impact was tremendous, which made it the most difficult weekend of the season, but we've had a very productive test session and I think that the F2008 can be really competitive.

"We'll give it all to win, for the team and for the fans. I've got nothing to lose, so I'll give it all, going flat out."


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