Monday, June 23, 2008

Raikkonen remains confident

Kimi Raikkonen's hopes of a French Grand Prix victory were wrecked by a broken exhaust, but he is confident of firing on all cylinders for the rest of the season.

After failing to score in the previous two races in Monaco and Montreal, Raikkonen appeared poised to take the chequered flag until the exhaust problem just before the midway point that resulted in a loss of power.

Leading the race up until that point from Ferrari's 200th pole of their illustrious history, Raikkonen slowly started to go backwards.

It was not long before he was passed by team-mate Felipe Massa who went on to win by 18 seconds and become the fourth different leader of the championship at the end of the last four races.

There was natural disappointment from reigning world champion Raikkonen that the win had slipped through his grasp, but then relief also he managed to finish the race at all.

"We maybe should have won, but I still took eight points and we're in a more comfortable position in the championship," said Raikkonen, who trails Massa by five points and BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica by three.

"A few laps after the exhaust broke the situation seemed better, but towards the end of the race I ran the risk of stopping.

"This sort of thing can happen in racing, and I have to look on the bright side because luckily I had built up quite a good lead in the first part of the race.

"But it shows the car is definitely strong because usually when you have this sort of problem, retirement is almost inevitable.

"At this stage there is still a long way to go in the championship, and I am in a better position now than I was at this stage last year.

"At the end of the day it was a great result for the team, a one-two, and everybody did their best. So now let's see what I can do in the next part of the series."

Massa now leads the way for the first time in his 95-race F1 career and is the first Brazilian to do so since the late Ayrton Senna in 1993.

Although such a position is special to him, it will mean nothing if he does not win the world title at the end of the season.

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