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Rabu, 02 September 2009

Raikkonen: This is great, but Monza will be tough


Kimi Raikkonen gave Ferrari its first victory of the season in Belgium on Sunday - and then warned the tifosi not to expect a repeat performance when F1 heads to Monza for the Scuderia's home event in two weeks time.

Raikkonen took the lead from Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella on the run to Les Combes following the re-start and while many expected the Finn to then pull away, it never actually happened.

Indeed Raikkonen was kept under pressure right to the finish, and less than a second separated the two at the chequered flag.

Furthermore the 'ice-man' freely conceded that his Ferrari F60 wasn't the best car and that he had to use his KERS boost strategically in his final stint to keep Fisichella's Force India at bay.

"A great victory for me and the team," Raikkonen reflected. "The champagne tastes the same wherever you are on the podium, but the feeling when you win is definitely different. This track has everything a driver could want and it's a pleasure to drive here, however, there's no particular secret to explain why I've won here four times. We wanted to win at least one race [this season] and we've done it."

"Our car was not the best in the pack, but we managed to put everything together and this result comes from all the work done with the team. I got away well [at the start], but Rubens [Barrichello] was stuck in front of me and I had to avoid him. Then, at the first corner and at the end of the straight, I managed to move up to second."

"Behind the Safety Car, I thought mainly about keeping the tyres and brakes up to temperature to be able to attack Fisichella at the restart, and that's how I managed to pass him quite easily. At the first pit stop, maybe it would have been better to stay with the softer tyre but that's easy to say afterwards. In the final part, when it seemed I might not be able to fight off Giancarlo, I slightly changed the way I used the KERS so as to defend myself on the straight at Stavelot and so I managed to stay in front."

"Monza next up though will be difficult, because our car is not particularly good over the kerbs, but we will try and do our best."

Meanwhile Ferrari team boss, Stefano Domenicali was understandably over-the-moon to see Raikkonen secure the victory, the squad's first of the season – and its sixteenth at Spa-Francorchamps.

Like Raikkonen though, he was keen to play down expectations ahead of the trip to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix.

"We are very happy with this win, which is a reward for all the hard work that the entire team has done during such a difficult and at the same time, dramatic season," Domenicali continued. "I wish to dedicate it first and foremost to President [Luca di] Montezemolo, who celebrates his birthday tomorrow. I don't think he could have asked for a better present."

"Kimi drove an amazing race today: we knew the first lap would be decisive and so it proved. He drove impeccably all race long and the team was at its very best during the two pit stops. In the last four races, we have always got one driver onto the podium and we have picked up a fair haul of points at the highest level, even in unusual circumstances."

"Now we look to Monza, our home race, where we will do all in our power to continue down this road, even if we know it will be very difficult."

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