Kimi Raikkonen is understandably eager to return to his winning ways this weekend around Budapest’s Hungaroring, when the Formula 1 world reconvenes for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Last time out at the Nurburgring the Finn finished a competitive 2nd, only just missing out on victory to reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel.
With this weekend’s proceedings in Budapest forecast to be run in extremely hot weather conditions, many within the paddock are tipping Lotus and Kimi Raikkonen to potentially take the fight back to Red Bull after initially winning the opening race of the season. Since Kimi Raikkonen’s stunning victory in Melbourne, the Enstone-based outfit has failed to return to the top step of the rostrum. Although it has become well known that Lotus excel in the heat, Kimi Raikkonen is remaining coy on the subject of victory at the weekend.
“There’s no point speculating before you get there.” Explained the 2007 World Champion, in an interview with the Official Formula One Website. “Hopefully we get the result we are looking for. It would be nice to take the break after this race and recharge the batteries in the middle of the season with a good result on the board, but most importantly, it would be good to have the points.”
With the tight and twisty confines on the Hungaroring regarded by many as “Monaco without the walls”, passing is notoriously tricky around the 4.381km circuit. With this in mind, Kimi Raikkonen understands the added emphasis on grid position for this weekend’s race. So far this season the Finn has only qualified on the front-row of the grid once, with 2nd at the Chinese Grand Prix. Although his qualifying performances may not yield impressive results in comparison to the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull, the Finn has certainly remained the most consistent driver on the grid during the races with four 2nd place finishes along with his victory at the Australian Grand Prix.
“Obviously you need to get to the front in the qualifying [session], but also avoid the dirty side of the track on the grid.” Continued the 33-year-old Finn, who will be looking for his 27th successive points finish this weekend. “When you look back through the races this season, it seems the dirty side of the track is a real disadvantage in the starts. I have finished second in Hungary too many times, so I know how important it is to lead the race after the first corner. DRS or not, it’s never easy to overtake at the Hungaroring. To get the weekend right, you have to have good sessions in FP1, FP2 and FP3, then a strong qualifying session and finally a perfect start to the race.”
Last season Kimi Raikkonen enjoyed a highly competitive Hungarian Grand Prix, finishing only one second behind eventual race winner Lewis Hamilton despite starting from back in 5th position. With this year’s race forecast to reach temperatures as high as 37c on Sunday, Lotus and Kimi Raikkonen could well be set to enjoy another competitive race in the scorching weather conditions.
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