The 2007 championship is prepared for a busy time at the upcoming back-to-back races in Italy and Belgium and Kimi Raikkonen is ready for battle on Ferrari's home ground at Monza to start the double- header. The Scuderia is expected to be strong...
The 2007 championship is prepared for a busy time at the upcoming back-to-back races in Italy and Belgium and Kimi Raikkonen is ready for battle on Ferrari's home ground at Monza to start the double- header. The Scuderia is expected to be strong at Monza and Spa but title rivals McLaren were dominant during the recent test at the Italian circuit, although Ferrari was not far behind.
"That was a good test, where we could try out some new things for the car," said Raikkonen. "Looking at the times, I think you can say that we have a fierce fight ahead of us; but you never know how much fuel the others use during the tests, so we'll only see during the qualifying what the situation is really like."
It will be a special weekend for the Finn. "I'll race at Monza for the first time with a Ferrari and it will be really special to feel the heat of the tifosi," he commented. "I can't wait to see all the flags with the Prancing Horse on the grandstands. I always liked the atmosphere at this track. Already during the test many fans came to see us there and it's good to know that you can rely on their support."
All the teams have been hard at work fine-tuning their Monza-specific aero packages. The high-speed circuit has the fastest straights on the calendar and is much-loved by drivers and fans alike. It's not always been a fortunate race for Raikkonen and he's yet to add victory in Italy to his tally of wins, but naturally he hopes that will change this time around.
"This is a very special track from the technical point of view; it's different from all the others," he said. "You need good aerodynamics, so you remain stable over the curbs, to be quick; but you also need a great engine, as you give it all for most of the lap."
"Traditionally Ferrari has been very competitive here, but also McLaren has been very strong, during the years when I raced for them, but for some reason or another I never managed to win. Let's hope we can make it this time, by being perfect from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon. Winning the home race of Ferrari would be a great feeling."
The gap to McLaren's championship leader Lewis Hamilton in the drivers' standings is 16 points for Raikkonen and 15 for teammate Felipe Massa, while there is 11 points between McLaren and Ferrari. With only five races to go there's everything to play for and Raikkonen intends to make the most every round that's left.
"My goal has to be to make up points on all of those who are ahead of me in the standings. The more we can close the gap on Alonso and Hamilton the better it is for me and Felipe. All the upcoming races are crucial: we can't commit any more mistakes. The team gives 110% and we have to beat our competitors and need to gain more points than them every time."