Kimi Raikkonen’s latest set of problems start a day before race-day, during qualifying. The Finn has been stuck at sixth place for two consecutive weekends and is desperate to make things better. Kimi believes that poor qualifying has been one of the main reasons why he has not performed well in races in the recent past.
“You can’t pretend to win the title if you’re always starting from the sixth position,” said the Finn, who spent precious time on Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix behind a slow, but hard to pass, Fernando Alonso. “You can even drive one second faster per lap than the one ahead of you, but if you start from behind you can’t use the pace you’ve got.”
Raikkonen was facing some issues in setting up his car for Hungary, a problem that he also faced the week before in Germany. He is determined to find a solution before the European Round if he is to ensure that he stays in contention for a win. However, no testing during the summer break will mean that achieving a strong and stable car before Valencia might be a little difficult.
“I don’t want to deny that the last races didn’t go as I wanted,” he said. “Every time something strange happened and we didn’t manage to find the best possible set up for the car. We tried to find a good compromise, but it didn’t help. We’ve got to solve that problem now for the upcoming race at Valencia.”
However, there is still a light at the end of the tunnel and Ferrari’s race-pace has been much better in Hungary where Raikkonen himself set the fastest lap timing. Raikkonen’s third place finish, though, can probably be attributed more to Hamilton’s and Massa’s retirement more than Kimi’s own efforts. Despite facing mechanical issues during the race, Raikkonen finished in third place and has now, moved up in the standings to second place.
“Whenever you’re able to narrow the gap to the leader it’s very important,” he added. “I gained more points than any other of my direct competitors, which is pretty positive as well before this short break. The situation in the championship is not too bad: obviously one can always improve and this is exactly what we want to do.”
Raikkonen will be relaxing back home in Finland, during the break, and will return in late August for the first-ever European Grand Prix at Valencia.