F1: Kimi Raikkonen eager to put Spa behind him during Italian Grand Prix - Motor Racing - Sport - The Independent

F1: Kimi Raikkonen eager to put Spa behind him during Italian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel now enjoys a healthy lead in the drivers' standings

Kimi Raikkonen is determined to brush himself down and pick himself up this weekend after sustaining a near knockout blow to his Formula One world title hopes last time out.

Lotus discovered a tear-off visor was the cause of Raikkonen's brake failure in the Belgian Grand Prix, leading to his first retirement in 39 races, and ending his record-breaking run of 27 consecutive events in the points.

The bitter disappointment means Raikkonen trails Sebastian Vettel in the drivers' standings by 63 points going into Sunday's Italian Grand Prix, with 200 up for grabs from the final eight races.

"There were some brake issues at the beginning of the race (in Spa), but we were managing them and it was going okay," said Raikkonen.

"We knew the brakes were hot and you could see the smoke, but I was still able to brake okay until a part failed and there was no way I could continue.

"Obviously it was not the first time I've had to finish a race early, and most likely it won't be the last time either.

"That said, I'm here to race and I want to finish every time, so for sure what happened in Spa was not what we were looking for and not ideal for the championship.

"But we knew the day would come. We had such a long period of time with the best reliability of all, so it was only natural that one day luck would go against us."

Monza, however, would appear to be one of Raikkonen's bogey circuits as the 2007 world champion has failed to win at the venerable venue in 10 attempts, with his best finish being runner-up in 2006.

"It's true I have never won in Italy," added Raikkonen.

"For one reason or another things just haven't worked out for me, but it doesn't mean I can't drive the track.

"Just because I have not won at a circuit in the past it doesn't mean I won't win or get a good result there in the future.

"It is true I have previously had some very competitive weekends there - once or twice I have been close to the win - but something has always gone wrong.

"Hopefully we will have a real chance to fight for that victory this time."

Such hopes, though, appear forlorn given the performance of the Lotus around Spa where high speed and low downforce are paramount.

With Monza being the fastest circuit on the calendar, and therefore requiring the greatest amount of downforce, Raikkonen's championship bid may take another hit on Sunday.

"It's a unique circuit with the high speeds achieved there and everyone will be running the lowest level of downforce we see all year," said Raikkonen.

"Low downforce has not always been the best for our car, but the factory has been working hard to get more speed and stability for us with some changes to the car.

"Let's wait and see how the car goes on Friday morning and then we'll have a better idea of what can be achieved."

PA

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