Thursday, October 18, 2007

Brazil GP: Kimi: It Would Be Nice To Win Title

One of the three contenders to win the World Championship Kimi Raikkonen was at his laconic best ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The mathematical permutations are against the Ferrari ace and he explained how he planned to approach the race. "We don't have much to lose and I think we will treat it more like a normal race," he told Autosport.

"Maybe we will need to do something during the race, but we won't do anything crazy because it probably won't work out."

The Finn reiterated that he will need luck on his side if he is to beat Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso to the title.

"But for sure we have not been in the best position at some points this year," he said.

"We had some problems and we dropped out of the points. So we were quite far away.

"We caught up again a little bit, but for sure we need a bit of good luck also on Sunday to try to win it. To win it would not be a surprise, but it would be very nice."

Raikkonen celebrated his 28th birthday this Wednesday. When asked what he did on the day he said: "Nothing really. It was just a normal day, we just went to eat. That was all."

He also said that he is yet to meet up with the Prancing Horse team in Brazil, although he isn't expecting a birthday gift from them.

"I haven't seen them yet, I am staying in a different hotel to them," said Raikkonen.

"Maybe I get something, maybe not. It is not such an important thing when you are getting older. More or less when you are ten years old, you are more excited."

Schu has fingers crossed for Kimi, Ferrari

Michael Schumacher hopes that Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari do the business and win the Drivers' World Championship at Interlagos.

The seven-times Champion says he has fond memories of the Brazilian Grand Prix, but admits that he is happy to be away from the action.

"The World Championship finale in Brazil will be a great battle," said the German on his official website.

"I can well think back to the tension a weekend like this one means to the driver and to be honest, I'm quite happy to be watching the race from my sofa at home this time.

And the 38-year-old has been impressed that his former team have managed to compete despite massive upheaval.

"Not only as a fan but more so as a driver you dream of a big fight like this and it goes without saying, that I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Kimi and our team," he said Schumacher.

"I'm sure it's going to be a thrilling race -- just like the whole year has been, in my opinion, an extremely exciting championship.

"I was happy to see that no matter what happened we always remained competitive and consistent, despite all the changes within the team and the technical problems we were facing sometimes. The guys have done a great job.

Although Schumacher was nostalgic about the Sao Paulo circuit, he reitereated that he is happily retired.

"It's now been a full year since I drove my last race and, looking back on that final day in Interlagos, I've got some very good memories that have stayed with me.

"But all in all, my family and I feel wonderful with the life that we have nowadays."

Brazil GP : Raikkonen plays down tyre concern

Kimi Raikkonen doesn't think the supersoft tyres will be to Ferrari's disadvantage at this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Finn, who heads into the season finale seven points behind Championship leader Lewis Hamilton and four behind Fernando Alonso, also promised to give it his all to win the Drivers' title on Sunday.

If Hamilton fails to score any points and Alonso finishes no higher than fifth then Raikkonen will claim his first Championship crown if he ends second.

There has been suggestions in some quarters that the Bridgestone tyres will benefit McLaren at Interlagos, but Raikkonen is having none of that.

"I've been reading stories that the supersoft tyres should be better for our competitors," Raikkonen said.

"That might have been true early in the season. But then things improved for us in terms of the set-up. So we just have to wait and see how it goes in Brazil.

"We go to Brazil in position three, so I'm not really the favourite for the title. But as we saw at Shanghai two weeks ago anything can happen. Whatever will happen, it's going to be a very exciting race. We will give it all.

"We couldn't do very much to prepare ourselves for Interlagos," the Finn said.

"I think that our competitors have done their job as we did. There's lots of pressure on both sides. They have two drivers in the race for the title and they also fight each other. Hopefully we can benefit from that.

"I go into this race the same way as into the last two: my aim is to win, and the rest is not up to me. It is a similar situation as in 2003, when I lost the title to Michael [Schumacher].

"Hamilton has seven points more than us: there's not much to calculate. We have to win and that's it."

Brazil GP: Kimi pragmatic about his chances of glory

Kimi Raikkonen is racing in Brazil to win and the rest, whether he claims the title or not, is up to his rivals. The Finn heads to Interlagos trailing McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso by seven and three points respectively and therefore has a tougher task on his hands winning the title.

In fact, according to the maths, Raikkonen has to finish in the top two to even stand a chance at winning the Drivers' crown. And if he does that it will then depend on where Hamilton and Alonso finish as to who wins the title.

"My aim is to win and the rest is not up to me," Raikkonen told his personal website.

"For me it is a similar position to 2003. Then I lost the title to Michael (Schumacher), but looking back it was a close call and at one point during the race it looked possible.

"Hamilton has seven points more than us. It is not easy to go to the last race just to get a couple of points more.

"We cannot calculate. We have to win. For us it is a straightforward race."

The Ferrari driver, though, is hoping that the on-going feud between Hamilton and Alonso will play into his hands come Sunday's season finale.

"There is a lot of pressure on both sides," he said. "They are the favourites and they fight against each other, too.

"Hopefully we benefit from that."

Chinese GP debrief: Kimi win, Ferrari - 200th victory

Kimi Raikkonen secured Scuderia Ferrari's two hundredth victory from 757 Grand Prix entered in the Formula 1 World Championship. It is Kimi's fifth win with the team, his fourteenth from 121 races. It is Ferrari's eighth victory of the season and its third in four runnings of the Chinese Grand Prix.

Chinese GP - Race

Kimi Raikkonen: 1st 1:37.58.395 56 laps chassis 262
Felipe Massa: 3rd + 12.891 56 laps chassis 263
Weather: air temperature 28 °C, track temperature 28 °C, rain, then overcast.

Jean Todt: "It is great to be able to celebrate Scuderia Ferrari's two hundredth victory in Formula 1, here in Shanghai, at the end of a difficult race, further complicated by the unpredictability of the changes in the weather. Kimi brings his total tally of the season to five and this is the team's eighth. He drove an extraordinary race, without committing the slightest error. Felipe had a good race, helping us to see how the dry weather tyres were working at a critical moment. Unfortunately, the rain returned for a brief period, which affected his race. All the team had taken badly what happened at a difficult weekend in Fuji which we left with much less than we deserved. I also wish to congratulate our friends at Toro Rosso, who picked up some important points: it is great to see four Ferrari engines in the top eight. We know our aim of bringing home the Drivers' title will still be very difficult to achieve, but we will give it our all, right up to the last lap of the last race!"

Kimi Raikkonen: "I am very happy! It is a really great result for me and the whole team, who done a truly excellent job. We needed this win and we got it. At the start of the race, I had a lot of understeer but then the situation improved. I was one of the last to switch to dry tyres but this was a help as after a little while the rain began to fall again. Even after the second stop I had a bit of understeer, but as before, the situation improved in the final stages. I knew Alonso was very quick but I was in full control of the situation. The car overall was working well both in the wet and in the dry. Last week in Fuji, we were unlucky but today things went right for us. We have had yet another example that in this sport anything can happen. The situation in the Drivers' classification is still difficult, but I will try everything to win in Brazil, even if the final outcome does not just depend on what we do. It should be a great battle, very hard to predict and interesting."

Felipe Massa: "I had hoped to be fighting for the win, but the race was affected by the changing weather conditions. At the moment I switched to dry tyres, the timing was not ideal. The rain came back immediately and it was really difficult to stay on track. In any case, in these instances, it can pay off to take risks: sometimes it works out and sometimes not. After a few difficulties with graining, the situation to the extent that, in the final part of the race, I was going very well. All in all, finishing on the podium in a race like this is very important and I am very happy for the team. There is one race to go: anything can happen and we must continue to work to stay ahead of our rivals."

Luca Baldisserri: "This was probably one of the most difficult races of the season, characterized by very unstable weather, with the rain coming and going. After the first pit stop, Kimi gradually made up ground on Hamilton and could have got past earlier but for the yellow flags. Then, as the track was drying, Kimi stepped up the pace and controlled a possible attack from Alonso. Maybe with Felipe, we rushed the switch to dry tyres, but the rain did not help. Now we can say it was a great race, run by two exceptional drivers who are capable of adapting very well to the changing track conditions. It will be tough in Sao Paolo but we will give it our best shot right down to the final corner."

Chinese GP: Updated standings, 3 drivers a chance to be world champion

With the DNF of Lewis Hamilton, the last race in Brazil will have to decide who will become world champion 2007. Hamilton still leads with 4 points over Alonso and 7 over Raikkonen.

Championship Points

1 Lewis Hamilton 107
2 Fernando Alonso 103
3 Kimi Raikkonen 100

Drivers' Table

Who will win 2007 Driver Championship?

Chinese GP race: Raikkonen wins

The Chinese GP ensures the battle to be continued in Brazil. Hamilton did not finish and Raikkonen wins before Alonso and Massa. Sebastian Vettel finishes fourth, a great finish for Toro Rosso, with also Liuzzi in the points.

2007 FORMULA 1™ Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix - Race

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Pit Points

1 6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 56 Winner 2 2 10
2 1 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Mercedes 56 +9.8 secs 4 2 8
3 5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 56 +12.8 secs 3 2 6
4 19 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 56 +53.5 secs 17 1 5
5 7 Jenson Button Honda 56 +68.6 secs 10 2 4
6 18 Vitantonio Liuzzi STR-Ferrari 56 +73.6 secs 11 2 3
7 9 Nick Heidfeld BMW 56 +74.2 secs 8 2 2
8 14 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 56 +80.7 secs 5 2 1
9 4 Heikki Kovalainen Renault 56 +81.1 secs 13 1
10 15 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 56 +84.6 secs 7 3
11 3 Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 56 +86.6 secs 18 2
12 17 Alexander Wurz Williams-Toyota 55 +1 Lap 19 2
13 12 Jarno Trulli Toyota 55 +1 Lap 12 1
14 22 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 55 +1 Lap 20 1
15 8 Rubens Barrichello Honda 55 +1 Lap 16 3
16 16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 54 +2 Laps 15 3
17 21 Sakon Yamamoto Spyker-Ferrari 53 +3 Laps 22 4
DNF 10 Robert Kubica BMW 33 +23 Laps 9 1
DNF 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 30 +26 Laps 1 1
DNF 11 Ralf Schumacher Toyota 25 +31 Laps 6 1
DNF 20 Adrian Sutil Spyker-Ferrari 24 +32 Laps 21 2
DNF 23 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 11 +45 Laps 14 1

Fastest lap: Felipe Massa 1:37.454

Chinese GP qualifying: Raikkonen P2

Lewis Hamilton once again steals pole. Raikkonen follows closely with Massa and Alonso behind him on P3 and P4. Hamilton has the bests position possible to become the youngest F1 worldchampion ever tomorrow. BUt will the race be dry and the setup good enough?

2007 FORMULA 1™ Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix - Qualifying
Pos No Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:35.798 1:35.898 1:35.908 16
2 6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:35.692 1:35.381 1:36.044 17
3 5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:35.792 1:35.796 1:36.221 16
4 1 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Mercedes 1:35.809 1:35.845 1:36.576 16
5 14 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:36.930 1:36.252 1:37.619 22
6 11 Ralf Schumacher Toyota 1:37.135 1:36.709 1:38.013 23
7 15 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:37.199 1:36.602 1:38.153 22
8 9 Nick Heidfeld BMW 1:36.737 1:36.217 1:38.455 21
9 10 Robert Kubica BMW 1:36.309 1:36.116 1:38.472 20
10 8 Jenson Button Honda 1:37.092 1:36.771 1:39.285 22
11 18 Vitantonio Liuzzi STR-Ferrari 1:37.047 1:36.862 12
12 19 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 1:37.006 1:36.891 12
13 12 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:37.209 1:36.959 13
14 4 Heikki Kovalainen Renault 1:37.225 1:36.991 12
15 23 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 1:37.203 1:37.247 12
16 16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:37.144 1:37.483 13
17 7 Rubens Barrichello Honda 1:37.251 6
18 3 Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 1:37.290 7
19 17 Alexander Wurz Williams-Toyota 1:37.456 6
20 22 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 1:38.218 6
21 20 Adrian Sutil Spyker-Ferrari 1:38.668 8
22 21 Sakon Yamamoto Spyker-Ferrari 1:39.336 7

Chinese GP: Raikkonen: trying to win the last two races

In marked contrast to the wet and cold in Fuji, it is a warm and sunny Shanghai International Circuit that greeted the circus at this, the penultimate round of the 2007 World Championship. Kimi Raikkonen's first appointment of the day was the FIA Press Conference, although the Finn did not get the chance to say much as, with Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel, Robert Kubica and Fernando Alonso sharing the platform, most questions revolved around the fairness of various penalties handed out during and after the Japanese GP and specifically, the driving style of Lewis Hamilton while leading the field behind the Safety Car.

Asked for his views on the circuit, Kimi said it was "quite okay" and that he "enjoyed driving it." In the past, the Finn has come second and third here. "But I don't think past results mean anything," continued the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver. "We will see how it goes this weekend, although the position in the championship does not look strong. I will be trying to win the last two races, but really now, the championship is not up to us, because even if I win the last two grands prix, that might not be enough to take the title. It's looking pretty impossible."

With the chance of rain forecast for a second consecutive Sunday, Kimi was ambivalent about how this would affect his race. "In the end it's the same for everyone," said Raikkonen. But you have to say that in Fuji, it certainly made it more lively! One journalists accused the driver and the Scuderia of making a lot of errors in Fuji, but Kimi refuted this. "With the tyre choice, we made that decision based on discussions between ourselves and also Bridgestone and, thinking the rain would ease, we opted to use the intermediates, no knowing this was not allowed. Then, we tried to do something different in terms of strategy as we were at the back of the pack and behind the Safety Car. These were not mistakes."

Finally, a very straightforward question: "It looks like a McLaren driver could win the world championship. Any regrets about leaving them?" And the very straightforward answer: "No!"

Kimi blames FIA for wrong tyres gaffe

Kimi Raikkonen on Sunday blamed the FIA for not informing Ferrari of a last minute rule change. The Maranello based team had to pull into the pits early in the Japanese grand prix after trying to start the race behind the safety car on intermediate tyres.

Third placed Raikkonen, now a distant 17 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the world championship with two races to go, later told reporters at Fuji Speedway that Charlie Whiting and FIA race control failed to tell Ferrari that it had to start on extreme wet tyres.

"They forgot to tell our team," the Finn claimed. "That forced us to pit behind the safety car."

Although no other team wrongly started the race on intermediates, Renault's Pat Symonds confirmed that Whiting only publicised the rule change just over an hour before the race.

"It's a little bit surprising, I guess," he told the British broadcaster ITV.

Raikkonen's teammate Felipe Massa finished sixth at Fuji, meaning that he can no longer become world champion.

Japanese GP: Race - Kimi take 3rd position

It was a hectic day today at the Fuji Motor Speedway. After 45 minutes behind the safety car the field was cleared to race. With heavy rains it was a brilliant race to watch. Eventually rookie Lewis Hamilton was strongest while teammate Alonso crashed into the barriers. Raikkonen virtually started with Massa behind the field, but the strong Ferrari's managed to finish in the points, with Massa wheelbanging Kubica in the last corners before the finish. 2007 Japanese Grand Prix - Race

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Pit Points

1 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 67 2:00:34.579 1 1 10
2 4 Heikki Kovalainen Renault 67 +8.3 secs 11 1 8
3 6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 67 +9.4 secs 3 3 6
4 14 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 67 +20.2 secs 12 1 5
5 3 Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 67 +38.8 secs 10 1 4
6 5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 67 +49.0 secs 4 4 3
7 10 Robert Kubica BMW 67 +49.2 secs 9 2 2
8 20 Adrian Sutil Spyker-Ferrari 67 +60.1 secs 19 1 1
9 18 Vitantonio Liuzzi * STR-Ferrari 67 +80.6 secs 22 2
10 8 Rubens Barrichello Honda 67 +88.3 secs 16 2
11 7 Jenson Button Honda 67 Suspension 6 1
12 21 Sakon Yamamoto Spyker-Ferrari 66 +1 Lap 21 2
13 12 Jarno Trulli Toyota 66 +1 Lap 13 2
14 9 Nick Heidfeld BMW 65 Technical 5 1
15 22 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 65 Collision 20 4
DNF 11 Ralf Schumacher Toyota 55 Puncture 14 4
DNF 23 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 54 Throttle sensor 18 1
DNF 16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 49 Electronics 15 2
DNF 19 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 46 Collision 8 2
DNF 15 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 45 Collision 7 1
DNF 1 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Mercedes 41 Accident 2 1
DNF 17 Alexander Wurz Williams-Toyota 19 Collision 17 1

Fastest lap: Lewis Hamilton 1:28.193 (Lap 27)

*Note - Liuzzi finished eighth, but had 25 seconds added to his race time for passing under yellow flags.

Japanese GP: Qualifying - Kimi's 3rd

Kimi Raikkonen: "Quite a good qualifying session. I could probably have got a better grid position but I came up against a bit of traffic and also had a small problem with the electronic management of the gearbox which cost me precious time. Of course it was something of a gamble starting qualifying in the wet without having ever run in these conditions but it only took a handful of laps to find the right line.

I expect tomorrow's race will be very tight. As we could work out from yesterday's practice, it is very close between us and our main rivals. Overall, the car worked well and I think I can be competitive in the wet or dry."

2007 FORMULA 1™ Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix

Pos No Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:25.489 1:24.753 1:25.368 30
2 1 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Mercedes 1:25.379 1:24.806 1:25.438 27
3 6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:25.390 1:24.988 1:25.516 29
4 5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:25.359 1:25.049 1:25.765 29
5 9 Nick Heidfeld BMW 1:25.971 1:25.248 1:26.505 30
6 16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:26.579 1:25.816 1:26.728 33
7 7 Jenson Button Honda 1:26.614 1:25.454 1:26.913 31
8 15 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:25.970 1:25.535 1:26.914 29
9 19 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 1:26.025 1:25.909 1:26.973 33
10 10 Robert Kubica BMW 1:26.300 1:25.530 1:27.225 33
11 3 Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 1:26.909 1:26.033 17
12 4 Heikki Kovalainen Renault 1:27.223 1:26.232 17
13 14 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:26.904 1:26.247 21
14 12 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:26.711 1:26.253 21
15 18 Vitantonio Liuzzi STR-Ferrari 1:27.234 1:26.948 22
16 11 Ralf Schumacher Toyota 1:27.191 No time 10
17 8 Rubens Barrichello Honda 1:27.323 10
18 17 Alexander Wurz Williams-Toyota 1:27.454 10
19 23 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 1:27.564 10
20 20 Adrian Sutil Spyker-Ferrari 1:28.628 10
21 22 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 1:28.792 10
22 21 Sakon Yamamoto Spyker-Ferrari 1:29.668 10

Belgian GP race - Raikkonen leads from begin to end, 1-2 for Ferrari

Raikkonen and Ferrari jave demonstrated their power on the track again. Leading from start to finish, Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa finished 1st and 2nd. Alonso And Hamilton followed. Ferrari now wins the constructors title of 2007.

2007 FORMULA 1™ ING Belgian Grand Prix - Race
Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts
1 6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 44 Winner 1 10
2 5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 44 +4.6 secs 2 8
3 1 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Mercedes 44 +14.3 secs 3 6
4 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 44 +23.6 secs 4 5
5 9 Nick Heidfeld BMW 44 +51.8 secs 6 4
6 16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 44 +76.8 secs 5 3
7 15 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 44 +80.6 secs 7 2
8 4 Heikki Kovalainen Renault 44 +85.1 secs 9 1
9 10 Robert Kubica BMW 44 +85.6 secs 14
10 11 Ralf Schumacher Toyota 44 +88.5 secs 10
11 12 Jarno Trulli Toyota 44 8
12 18 Vitantonio Liuzzi STR-Ferrari 43 +1 Lap 13
13 8 Rubens Barrichello Honda 43 +1 Lap 17
14 20 Adrian Sutil Spyker-Ferrari 43 +1 Lap 19
15 22 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 43 +1 Lap 18
16 23 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 43 +1 Lap 22
17 21 Sakon Yamamoto Spyker-Ferrari 43 +1 Lap 20
Ret 7 Jenson Button Honda 36 +8 Laps 12
Ret 17 Alexander Wurz Williams-Toyota 34 +10 Laps 15
Ret 14 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 29 +15 Laps 11
Ret 19 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 8 +36 Laps 16
Ret 3 Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 1 +43 Laps 21

Fastest lap: Felipe Massa, lap 34, 1:48.036

Belgian GP qualifying: Raikkonen pole, 1-2 for Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen has taken pole position for the Belgian GP of tomorrow. On a circuit he has always done well, Ferrari seem to outpace McLaren by a fraction. Massa has P2, while Alonso and Hamilton follow. Alonso made a rare mistake by spinning halfway through Q3.

2007 FORMULA 1™ ING Belgian Grand Prix (Qualifying)
Pos No Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:46.242 1:45.070 1:45.994 15
2 5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:46.060 1:45.173 1:46.011 15
3 1 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Mercedes 1:46.058 1:45.442 1:46.091 15
4 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:46.437 1:45.132 1:46.406 15
5 10 Robert Kubica BMW 1:46.707 1:45.885 1:46.996 22
6 16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:46.950 1:46.469 1:47.334 21
7 9 Nick Heidfeld BMW 1:46.923 1:45.994 1:47.409 18
8 15 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:47.084 1:46.426 1:47.524 20
9 12 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:47.143 1:46.480 1:47.798 21
10 4 Heikki Kovalainen Renault 1:46.971 1:46.240 1:48.505 21
11 3 Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 1:47.143 1:46.603 13
12 11 Ralf Schumacher Toyota 1:47.300 1:46.618 11
13 14 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:47.340 1:46.800 12
14 7 Jenson Button Honda 1:47.474 1:46.955 12
15 18 Vitantonio Liuzzi STR-Ferrari 1:47.576 1:47.115 12
16 17 Alexander Wurz Williams-Toyota 1:47.522 1:47.394 12
17 19 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 1:47.581 6
18 8 Rubens Barrichello Honda 1:47.954 6
19 22 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 1:47.980 6
20 20 Adrian Sutil Spyker-Ferrari 1:48.044 8
21 23 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 1:48.199 6
22 21 Sakon Yamamoto Spyker-Ferrari 1:49.577 5

Belgian GP - Raikkonen: "I always liked this circuit"

A two times winner here in Belgium, Kimi Raikkonen faced the media in the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro media motorhome on a day when the weather gods, such an important element here, were in a warm sunny mood. The Finn did not want to consider the situation in evolving in Paris, so he had this to say about his championship title chances with four races remaining. "My position in the championship has not really changed in the last couple of races," maintained Raikkonen. "Let's see how we go this weekend, but while it is still possible I will still believe in my chances."

With only a few days having passed since Raikkonen's heavy crash on Saturday in Monza, the journalists were keen to know if he had recovered fully on the physical front. "My neck is better than it was last Sunday, but I will not have a clear idea what condition it is in until after I have driven in tomorrow's practice," said the Finn. "But I expect it will be okay."

After a two year gap, the F1 teams were given a unique opportunity to test at this circuit back in July. "I think we had a good test here, although it was a while ago and I reckon our car will definitely be more competitive here than it was last weekend," commented Kimi. "Again, we will have a clearer picture tomorrow. The track itself is not that much different to the way it used to be, apart from modifications at the chicane. The pit lane entrance is not dangerous, although in testing we do not tackle it at full speed. But it is tricky and could be a problem if someone is in difficulty. It could get blocked and then, no one could get through. Eau Rouge corner is still fun, but when I first came here with Sauber it was much more challenging and maybe scary, but now for Formula 1 cars it is no longer a challenge. I always liked this circuit, always done quite well and hope I can continue with that. The race can be made more difficult by the weather: it is never a straightforward race, but hopefully we can be strong and do well."

In order to score points and think of wins, first a car must make it to the finish and the Ferrari driver admitted this had not always been the case with the F2007. "Reliability has not been our strongest point this year but we are constantly working on it, even if it is still costing too many points and it is definitely something we have to improve on for the future. Of course we were not happy after Monza, as we had expected to be stronger than McLaren in the race."

And Paris? "I don't want to talk about it until we know what is happening. For me the atmosphere within the team at the track is the same and all I would say is that it will be nice to reach a decision on this matter."

Kimi's statistic at Belgian GP
2004 and 2005 winner

Italian GP race: Kimi took 3rd place

Kimi took 3rd place in Italian GP behind the McLaren drivers. Alonso wins followed by Lewis Hamilton. Kimi's teammate Massa DNF cause by mechanical problem.

FORMULA 1™ Gran Premio d'Italia 2007

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts
1 1 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Mercedes 53 Winner 1 10
2 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 53 +6.0 secs 2 8
3 6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 53 +27.3 secs 5 6
4 9 Nick Heidfeld BMW 53 +56.5 secs 4 5
5 10 Robert Kubica BMW 53 +60.5 secs 6 4
6 16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 53 +65.8 secs 8 3
7 4 Heikki Kovalainen Renault 53 +66.7 secs 7 2
8 7 Jenson Button Honda 53 +72.1 secs 10 1
9 15 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 53 +75.8 secs 11
10 8 Rubens Barrichello Honda 53 +76.9 secs 12
11 12 Jarno Trulli Toyota 53 +77.7 secs 9
12 3 Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 52 +1 Lap 15
13 17 Alexander Wurz Williams-Toyota 52 +1 Lap 13
14 23 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 52 +1 Lap 14
15 11 Ralf Schumacher Toyota 52 +1 Lap 18
16 22 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 52 +1 Lap 17
17 18 Vitantonio Liuzzi STR-Ferrari 52 +1 Lap 19
18 19 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 52 +1 Lap 16
19 20 Adrian Sutil Spyker-Ferrari 52 +1 Lap 21
20 21 Sakon Yamamoto Spyker-Ferrari 52 +1 Lap 22
Ret 5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 10 +43 Laps 3
Ret 14 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1 +52 Laps 20

Fastest lap: Fernando Alonso 1:22.871 (lap 15)

Raikkonen to race with stiff, sore neck

Following his high speed crash during Saturday practice at Monza, Kimi Raikkonen awoke on Sunday morning for the Italian grand prix with a very sore and stiff neck. The Finn had a check-up in the circuit medical centre here directly after the incident, where FIA medical boss Dr Gary Hartstein cleared him to qualify."He is okay," Hartstein said in the paddock on Saturday.

Raikkonen, 28, was just fifth quickest, and apparently confided to some friends in the Finnish press that he was suffering with some neck pain throughout the qualifying session.

Spanish newspaper 'As' says the Ferrari driver's pain increased throughout the evening, and he arrived at the circuit on Sunday barely able to move his head from side to side. It is not believed that the muscle soreness will cause him to sit out the race, but Raikkonen told the Swiss newspaper Blick: "My neck does hurt quite a lot and it is completely stiff. I can hardly move.

"But it's nothing really bad or anything and I look forward to the race."

Kimi crash not caused by failure - Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen had to use Ferrari's spare car for qualifying at Monza following his high speed practice shunt earlier on Saturday. The Finn will not be penalised ten grid places, however, after mechanics for the Maranello based team switched the intact engine from his damaged F2007 to the T-car. A Ferrari spokesman said here that initial investigations showed that the practice accident, in which the rear of Raikkonen's car initially swerved into the retaining wall under braking for the Ascari chicane, was actually not a technical failure.

"It just happened that he braked on a bump; he braved very hard and he lost the rear," the spokesman told the British broadcaster ITV.

He added: "No mechanical failure, as far as we have seen, and no driver mistakes (either)." Luca Colajanni also stated that he thought Raikkonen's performance would suffer in qualifying due to his lack of running here so far.

Raikkonen, 28, qualified just fifth for Sunday's Italian grand prix.

Kimi lost practice time with an hydraulic problem on Friday, and had completed just three laps on Saturday before his crash.

"So compared to the others for sure he has a handicap," Colajanni said.