Kimi Raikkonen has vowed to put his disappointing 2008 Formula One campaign behind him and come out fighting in 2009, knowing that he now faces the dual threat of new champion Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa.

Insisting that he was contentedly resigned to the fact that 'his' crown was now heading to Woking - or, perhaps, Geneva - Raikkonen, admitted that 2008 had not been the title defence he had wanted, but pointed out that everyone would start with a clean slate next March, both technically and personally, and claimed that he was not done collecting world titles.

"I lost [the championship] this year, so well done to [Hamilton], he deserves it in the end," the Finn noted phlegmatically, "He got the most points from this year, so I don't feel bad.

"Of course, my season was not what I wanted in the end, but that's racing. Sometimes, you have bad moments during the season and it cost too many points for me this year, but I will try to come back next year and it's a completely different story again. I won it once and, for sure, I want to win it more times, but this year didn't happen. We will come back stronger next year and try to get it back."

Holding the unaccustomed responsibility of playing a back-up role to his team-mate for the last few races, Raikkonen helped Ferrari to clinch an eighth constructors' title in ten years with third place at Interlagos, but admitted that he again struggled for performance in Brazil.

"I knew what I was supposed to do and it wasn't the best race ever," he sighed, "The car was quite difficult, but I don't know why. The tyres felt quite tricky, especially the fronts on the first set, and the second set was a bit difficult at the beginning.

"It was wet at the start, but the grip was not too bad. It was trickier on dry tyres when there were some wet patches, and I took it very easily at those places. The car didn't want to turn, but it was slightly better at the beginning of the second set, and then it got better all the time, so I was able to catch up."

Raikkonen closed in on Fernando Alonso as the race headed into its closing stages, the Spaniard having benefited from the timing of his change onto dry weather tyres, but revealed that he was asked not to try any heroics lest he jeopardise his team-mate's chances of landing the drivers' title.

"My only mission was to get points for the team," the Finn admitted, "It wasn't the nicest race in the end, but we got what we wanted, so that was the most important thing.

"The car started to be a bit better in the end, and I was catching Fernando, but then came the rain. I was right behind him, but I got some instruction not to risk anything for Felipe. Of course, if I went off, it would not be good for the team, for Felipe's situation at that moment, so I decided to stay in third place. For myself, it made no difference and the team would have won the championship anyhow, so we just came home third."

Like Massa and team boss Stefano Domenicali, Raikkonen took solace in the fact that the Scuderia had at least been able to prevent McLaren from stealing its constructors' crown.

"It was unlucky for Felipe, but [winning the teams' title] was one of our aims, and we got that at least," he confirmed, "It was not the easiest year for the team, and for both of us, but we got good results for the team and we must be happy. It was Stefano's first year as team boss and it has not been easy all the way through, so I am very happy for him."


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