Kimi stays calm as Ferrari deny crisis

Kimi Raikkonen of Finland is intent on staying cool this weekend at the normally-steaming Hungaroring as he looks to keep his title challenge alive.

updated: August 04, 2008 16:40 IST
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Defending drivers world champion Kimi Raikkonen of Finland is intent on staying cool this weekend at the normally-steaming Hungaroring as he looks to keep his title challenge alive.

After a series of poor results, the Ferrari ace has slipped from being championship leader, as he was after the Spanish Grand Prix, to just one of the chasing pack. After five poor races, he is seven points behind in-form Briton Lewis Hamilton, the current leader.

"It's no secret that we're not satisfied by how the last five races went," said Raikkonen. "I was particularly disappointed after the series Montreal - Magny Cours - Silverstone. In each one of these races I had the possibility to win, but because of one thing or another things didn't go the right way and I lost.

"I never let myself be influenced by tension and I won't start now. I've just to keep my focus and continue to give as much as possible, race after race. That's what I've done every time I was in trouble.

"It's still much too early to make any forecasts for the championship, considering that the first three drivers are only seven points apart. The positions can change in a single race.

"And it's useless to cry over spilled milk. We are looking ahead, with eight races to go and at the end we'll do the maths. We just passed the halfway point of the season, so it's important to always gain points.

"Excluding Hockenheim, I was always in a position to win and I hope success will come soon."

Raikkonen is confident Ferrari will be strong at this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix following a poor showing in Germany, where the world champion said he endured his most difficult weekend this season.

"The race at Hockenheim was the most difficult moment of the season," he said. "I was really frustrated and disappointed that I couldn't find the right balance of the car, but now we're in a much better position.

"We had a productive test at Jerez, especially on the second day. The team has done some great work in the development of the F2008 and I'm confident for Hungary. It's true that McLaren has improved a lot over the last two races, but we also know that the situation can change in the blink of an eye."

Raikkonen, along with his Ferrari team-mate Brazilian Felipe Massa, has been in the hunt for the title all season in a battle with McLaren Mercedes-Benz and Britain's Hamilton.

Hamilton won last year's race in Hungary after a dramatic behind-the-scenes controversy and he has high hopes of the same result without the hassle this time around.

"I love the circuit and it is a great city, Budapest, so I am looking forward to it very much and I just hope for another good result. The main thing is that we have a great car like we have had recently and that we carry on working as hard as we can."

After successive victories at Silverstone and Hockenheim, Hamilton is on top of the title race and in charge. He is the first driver this year to win successive races and is hunting a hat-trick in Hungary.

But Ferrari are adamant that they can stop him and this week team chief Stefano Domenicali took the rare step of making a statement denying that the Italian team is in crisis.

Their performances in the last two outings have seen Hamilton take over at the top. He leads Massa by four points.

Both of the two major contenders know that the season has reached the serious stuff now and the final run-in begins this weekend with a highly-competitive Grand Prix in prospect.