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Raikkonen plays it cool, but feels Lotus will shine at Spa
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Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Aug 2012   |  2:49 pm GMT  |  40 comments

Kimi Raikkonen is many people’s favourite for the win this weekend, in the Lotus, on a track where he has won four times.

The Finn has a special empathy with the circuit and although he doesn’t give anything away about how he is feeling, being back here after two years away, he seems to have a quiet confidence. Certainly many media figures believe he has a great chance, as well as fans, judging by the large turn out at his media briefing in the paddock this afternoon.

“I don’t think that there is anything special, I have had some good races, but also some bad ones. It’s not like it’s always the nicest place for us,” said Raikkonen. “It’s nice to come back, hopefully we can have a strong weekend and try to win.

A win?
“We’ve put ourselves in with a chance a few times, but we have to do a but better and then we can have a chance of winning and get some big points and try to catch up with the others.”

Asked whether he feels he has a chance to challenge for the championship, sitting as he does only one point behind Lewis Hamilton, Raikkonen said, “We’ll try, there are many points to be won still. Alonso has the best chance now, but a lot of things can change in F1. We’ll keep pushing and see where we end up.”

One reason Raikkonen is likely to be competitive, apart from the double DRS device on the rear wing, is that the Lotus worked well on the hard tyres in cool conditions at Silverstone, where Raikkonen was among the fastest cars on race day. “It’s more about the circuit layout, not just the temperature,” he said.

As for the double DRS device, he would not be drawn on whether it will be used in qualifying and the race, “We have to see how it works (on Friday),” he said. “If it’s better we will use it. Until we run it tomorrow we cannot make any decision.”

Having tested it twice during free practice in Germany and Hungary, Raikkonen will be keen to get the performance boost from the fluidic switch device. With DRS worth 1.2 seconds per lap here, the extra boost from the Lotus system could be the difference which allows them to qualify at the front.

Who’s our favourite for the race win on Sunday?

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40 Comments
  1. Mitchel says:

    Just. Can’t. Wait.

    1. Anant Deboor says:

      +1

  2. sname says:

    James do you think Schumi has a chance as well? after all, he is the one with most wins on this track..

    1. Kay says:

      He has a slight chance on the podium, that’s all I’ve givin’ ya.

      In a car like that Merc, you can’t do the job without having the equipment.

  3. Esplanadist says:

    James, a brief word please if I may
    Bernie is a nice guy, and he likes you, so how about this idea.

    Virgin charge me 22 sterling a month to watch the sky F1 channel. I would happily pay that to you if you could get Bernie to stream the race through your website here. Plus I’ll watch a whole minute of ads if you like [before the action starts]
    It would mean also we get your commentary and analysis and not sky or the BBC. I’m just hoping that ad revenue would get you the deal. Any chance?

    1. James Allen says:

      More chance of getting struck by lightening , I’d say!

      In the future, all kinds of things are possible, but the TV rights are about 40% of F1′s gross incomes, so it’s some way off yet..

      1. Gareth says:

        Have to agree – superb site and if it were to become available I’d happily sign up!

      2. Alex says:

        Here here! JA commentary on an easily accessible format would be ideal.

    2. Kay says:

      Maybe Bernie is oldschool and likes televisions better… who knows? lol.

  4. Holly says:

    Too much hype with Lotus and Kimi for this race, I wonder what will happen.

    1. Kay says:

      You’ll get a race to watch, as usual.

  5. goferet says:

    Well, in my view it’s highly unlikely that Kimi will ever win Spa ever again.

    As I mentioned earlier, no driver has won this race with three different teams and worse still, the only drivers ever to win at Spa with Lotus are none other the only two drivers that have dominated this track for 4 consecutive seasons namely Senna & Jim Clark.

    So no, victory seems to be Hammy’s for he did it in 2010 plus he’s the bookies favourite for victory.

    However, I do see a podium in Kimi’s future but with all the new Lotus gadgets wouldn’t it be a bitter pill if Grosjean ended up beating Kimi, yes this is what usually happens when the exceptions are so high for a driver.

    1. Elie says:

      Just because it hasn’t been done before it don’t mean it cant be done !
      Just because a “booky” has odds on Lewis to win it doesn’t mean Seb or Mark or Anyone else cant win including Kimi !.
      Just because a man did not walk on the moon before 1969 didn’t stop it happening did it ?
      (god bless him)
      I too think Mclaren are well placed but it doesn’t take much for Lotus to find a few tenths in this device and Get what they deserve.Kimi has won it 4 times and driving brilliantly, it is irrational to say “..unlikely Kimi will ever win Spa again ”
      Btw-The word is “expectation” not exception..And I have expectation to ignore your comments as they lack common sense. Its just now I got a strong sense that I will be replying this message just one last time after Sunday night !

      1. Kay says:

        +1 on Elie, -100 on goferet lol.

    2. James Clayton says:

      I thought you’d understood our little chat about the law of averages!! :)

    3. RampantHaddock says:

      No driver had EVER won the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix. Ever. Not once.

      Based on these statistics I can confidently predict there will be no winner come Sunday.

      1. Toleman fan says:

        +1

        Or as the Spitting Image puppet said on election night, ‘Here are the results of our exit poll: everyone is leaving,’

    4. Dean Simiwell says:

      goferet you are so predictable it’s ridiculous. [mod]

  6. Esplanadist says:

    Schumacher is 40/1 at the bookies to win this.

    I remember when he arrived at Spa in 2004 certain in his mind that he will seal another title with a win at the best F1 track in the world. He didn’t win that day or ever again at Spa.
    I can’t trace any video of that race, but I seem to remember the young Raikkonen leading the restart after the safety car and making his McLaren halt and see-saw uphill. When he bolted, Schumi had no chance of catching up in his vastly superior Ferrari. Ah memories

    1. Alex says:

      That was a GREAT race

    2. James Clayton says:

      “Schumacher is 40/1 at the bookies to win this.”

      Thanks for the tip. I actually had a dream that Schumacher won this race (no idea why, I have no real desire for him to do so), so after seeing those odds, I felt I probably should take a punt!

      Bad news is, so far none of my F1 dreams have ever come true! :)

  7. KGBVD says:

    He (and everyone else) is either setting himself up for a massive result, or a massive bowl of ice cream…

  8. Rich in Norway says:

    James. Still no confirmation on Schumachers plans next year. Are you still certain he is staying?

    Thanks.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, I heard that he had done that before the break. He says no word until October.

  9. CraigT says:

    A Lotus win is long over due and I think that Spa might be the track that gives them the win they deserve. Which Lotus crosses line first is any ones guess although it would make a fantastic story if Kimi were to win in his comeback year.

  10. GM Mini says:

    Fun poll. But drivers’ pre race comments are seldom very interesting. Asking the guys what they had for dinner or listened to on Spotify last night would be more informative.

    No can do? Ok.

    1. Kay says:

      Kimi’s comments, pre-race or not, can be interesting.

      Just Google for his past comments you’ll find long list of funny ones.

  11. Jodum5 says:

    Hi James, What’s a “fluidic switch device”?

    1. Glennb says:

      It’s a pressure switch (valve). It opens when the pressure on one side of the valve exceeds a predetermined pressure. The pressure obviously coming from airflow across the switch.
      James is just into using “fluidic” this year ;)

    2. James Clayton says:

      I’d guess it’s a switch which activates by fluid travelling through it.

      1. Kit says:

        Such as rain. Gets converted into ice-cream…

        No, not being serious here..

  12. Andy Dudley says:

    Kimi has enjoyed a lot of success in Spa, and Lotus are definitely the team of the moment, but they still are searching for that elusive win.

    I’d love to see Kimi do it, but I still feel that it will be Alonso’s weekend, the Ferrari seems to perform well in cooler conditions, and rain is always ever-present in Spa Francorchamps.

  13. Antonis Papadakis says:

    Is it until October that Schumacher will announce
    that he will be driving for another team

  14. Michael S says:

    I would love to see Kimi win, but with so many picking him I don’t see it… rarely does the field favorite win. Plus corner one there usually takes about about 5 cars each year… my favorite track but the worst first corner in all of F1

    1. Esplanadist says:

      there is a run off there which takes you through the mud but you can escape Maldonado …..

  15. KRB says:

    Ok, but when would we be able to tell what the DDRS effect is for Lotus? When their DRS wing is open, there should be no or little benefit, right? I guess we could see in their Friday long-run’s, and then of course in the race. If it adds another three or four-tenth’s, then assuming the car is at base competitive here, then for sure Lotus have a great chance at the win.

    McLaren have looked decent the last two races, but they were nowhere on the hard’s in their last stints at Silverstone. McLaren expected Lewis to be a second quicker on those tires than he actually was. If they’ve gotten on top of the problem, great, but if not, could see them drop back while running the hard’s. The medium will be the main race tire, but each driver gets only five sets of them (6 prime, 5 option, 4 inter, 3 wet). That three sets of wets is too low at Spa. If it rains tomorrow, and there’s a chance that it could rain in the race (and let’s face it, there’s always that chance at Spa), then no one will be going out.

    Lastly, JA and Gary Anderson think Red Bull have a good chance at Spa. Gary wrote that Spa had Red Bull stamped all over it. Who am I to question that?

  16. goferet says:

    Kimi Raikkonen:

    “I always said that if I win one (WDC title) I’m happy and then if something comes after that good, but I am not desperate on it,”

  17. DB says:

    Apparently my previous tong-in-cheek reply to comment #4 about what might happen didn’t make it past the mod, but I did get something right. ¦¬)

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