Kimi Raikkonen will reconvene his Championship hopes around Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps circuit next weekend, where the 2007 World Champion will be aiming to secure his fifth victory around the iconic circuit. However, the Finn fully understands that qualifying will play a pivotal role in his chances of success for Lotus.
After a relatively successful conclusion to the first half of the season, Kimi Raikkonen is understandably aiming to continue with his consistency when the sport reconvenes around the daunting Belgian circuit. So far the Finn has finished competitively within the points at every race this season, which included victory at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Although such successes have yet to be repeated, the Finn sits only 38 points behind Championship leader Sebastian Vettel. Last year Kimi Raikkonen finished 3rd at the Belgian Grand Prix, a result he is aiming to emulate this season.
“Usually I’ve achieved a good result at the Belgian Grand Prix, but what has happened there before doesn’t help me right now.” Explained Kimi Raikkonen, as he looked ahead to this year’s Belgian Grand Prix. “Of course, it doesn’t cause any harm either and it would be great to win at Spa for a fifth time. Extra points are always good and if you win the race no-one scores more points than you. For me there have only been good memories from Spa and it’s great to go racing there. You can’t get the same kind of a feeling anywhere else. It’s great to race with a modern racing car at a proper circuit which has such a great tradition.”
Although Kimi Raikkonen is clearly aiming to secure victory on the Sunday, he fully understands that his performance during qualifying on the Saturday will be instrumental in dictating his chances during the 44-lap race. Apart from the Chinese Grand Prix earlier in the season where he qualified 2nd, Kimi Raikkonen has struggled to qualify towards the sharp-end of the grid. Despite Spa-Francorchamps’ many overtaking locations throughout the lap, qualifying on the front-row of the grid would understandably be ideal for the Finn.
“As we’ve seen so many times this year, a good grid position is extremely important.” Insisted Kimi Raikkonen, who has not qualified on pole since the 2008 French Grand Prix. “It will be very decisive at Spa too, even though it is maybe easier to overtake there than at some other tracks. It’s crucial to have a good car aerodynamically to tackle the fast corners and it’s a long lap, so to get the right time you really need to maintain the best rhythm. So much depends on the qualifying result, so we need to find a decent set-up on Friday and Saturday and have a solid qualifying session on Saturday afternoon.”
If Kimi Raikkonen has ambitions on denying Sebastian Vettel his fourth successive Championship this season, it is imperative that he starts the second half of the season in competitive fashion around the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit. With the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso also eager to take the fight to Sebastian Vettel in the latter half of the season, this year’s Belgian Grand Prix could well be an intensely fought affair within the micro-climate of the Ardennes Forest.
Picture Copyright © Octane Photographic