Kimi Raikkonen says he is encouraged by the progress he has made over the last few races even if it took until the Belgian Grand Prix to really show in terms of results.
Fourth place in Belgium was Raikkonen’s best result of the season as he held third for much of the latter stages of the race before losing out to Valtteri Bottas. However, Raikkonen said it wasn’t just in Spa that he was noticing an improvement and insists he won’t put too much importance on the result in Monza, though he hopes for another clean race.
Asked if Spa marks a turning point in his season, Raikkonen replied: “I hope so.
“We had a pretty OK feeling in the other races before Spa but always something happened. Some damage to the car in Germany, being hit by other drivers sometimes, some other small issues with certain things… Then in Hungary we put ourselves in a pretty bad position after qualifying, so when you produce those kinds of issues or mistakes it’s very hard to try and get results afterwards trying to pass people.
“I think in Belgium we still had a lot of issues in Friday practice which we have to get rid of, but the race itself was probably the first race where we had no issues at all so we could kind of run our own speed and do the things we planned to do. Obviously the result was a bit better but who knows? Hopefully we have a good race here but for some reason if we retired here or at the next race people will say it’s back to what happened before.
“The feeling has been better for a while but we have to make sure we have no issues and we make a clean weekend and can run our normal program on Friday. It’s small things but they can make a big difference in the end so that’s the aim. I think we’ve been improving things all the time so we should get a bit better [results]. This race might be a bit more tricky with the top speed but overall it’s getting better.”
Focusing specifically on the Italian Grand Prix, Raikkonen said he does still hold out hope of being competitive despite Monza’s long straights.
“We expect to have a more difficult race here because mainly the straight-line speed is what we’ve been lacking. Not so much in qualifying but in the race condition I think we have a bigger disadvantage than the Mercedes cars and probably Renault. But we thought that also in Spa and it was surprisingly good for us so hopefully we’ll find out that it’s a similar case here but we have to really see once we get running tomorrow how it is.”