Raikkonen: For me Spa is the greatest racing circuit in the world

Talk of Spa makes Kimi Raikkonen smile

Talk of Spa makes Kimi Raikkonen smile

Kimi Raikkonen is known to be a man of few (unemotional) words, but he cannot contain himself when talking about Spa-Francorchamps, venue of the Belgian Grand Prix, where he has won four times. He returns there this year second in the championship standings, with a very good chance of taking the score to five victories.

You were second in Budapest before the summer break; how good would it be to go one step better at Spa?
Usually I’ve achieved a good result at the Belgian Grand Prix, but what has happened there before doesn’t help me right now. 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.

How has your history been at the circuit?
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.

Kimi Raikkonen lies second in the championship standings

Kimi Raikkonen lies second in the championship standings

What are the challenges of the track and should it suit the strengths of the E21?
Spa offers very challenging high-speed corners and you need to get the right set-up for the car. As we’ve seen so many times this year, a good grid position is extremely important. 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 [will] need to find a decent set-up on Friday and Saturday and have a solid qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. I don’t know how it will suit our car this year. Last year we were not very strong there. I think we know the reasons and for sure our car is better this year, but is it good enough to be fighting for a win? We will see on Sunday.

Why has Spa been so good to you in the past?
Sometimes there are certain circuits where everything seems to run smoothly, and then there are other circuits where I have no luck at all. Of course, we will do our very best to win this race. I have been on the top step of the podium a few times at Spa and I want to be there again.

Kimi Raikkonen won the 2004 Belgian GP as a McLaren driver

Kimi Raikkonen won the 2004 Belgian GP as a McLaren driver

Does this make Spa one of your favourite tracks?
I bet every driver likes Spa. For me it is the greatest racing circuit in the world. It is my favourite place. I have liked the place since my first ever visit there in 2000 with Formula Renault.

How are you feeling about your championship position?
I am now back in second which was a good way to enter the summer break. I finished ahead of Seb [Vettel] in Hungary so obviously scored more points than him there. To beat him, we need to be winning races and if we keep finishing second like we’ve done many times this year it’s probably not going to be enough for the championship, but you never know what might happen.

Where can improvements be found?
Well, obviously I keep making my life difficult on Saturdays in qualifying so then we pay a price, but we still have a good car in the race. Now we have tyres that are a little bit different we have to understand exactly how to use them. We made progress in Budapest so it should be easier in Spa, but that will be the same for everyone. To win, it’s always better to be starting near the front.

Subbed by AJN.

  • Rick

    Just leave him alone. He knows what he’s doing!

  • k-15-

    With or without the ‘device’ u r gonna win @ SPA.

  • Torque

    Still 6 more days to go, damn!

  • chandra

    Tyre strategy is crucial

  • Stoner

    Kimi ! King of Spa !!

  • GreenHell

    @Stoner: Kimi is brilliant, not a doubt. But “King of Spa” is someone else ;-)