Raikkonen welcomes Fisichella to Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen has hailed new team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella as an "expert driver" who can help guarantee Ferrari third place in this year's Formula One constructors' championship.
Raikkonen is not a man who tends to willingly dish out praise, and third is ordinarily not a target Ferrari aim for.
But the Finn feels with Fisichella on board the team can push for the best-of-the-rest tag this season behind championship-leading Brawn GP and close rivals Red Bull Racing.
Italian Fisichella was confirmed as replacement for the inept Luca Badoer last week, stepping in for the final five races of this year after being released from his contract with Force India, starting on home soil this weekend with the Italian Grand Prix.
"I've a new team-mate, Giancarlo Fisichella. I have always got along very well with him," remarked Raikkonen of the 36-year-old Roman.
"He's one of the most expert drivers, and we will give our best to help Ferrari retain third place in the constructors' championship."
In the absence of Felipe Massa for the last three races, Raikkonen has been a one-man show for Ferrari, claiming 24 points, including victory last time out in Belgium.
If this is to be Raikkonen's last season with the team, as is being widely speculated, he is certainly going out with a flourish.
Victory on Sunday at Monza, a circuit where he has never triumphed in eight previous attempts, and in a Ferrari, would certainly cement his status with the tifosi - the team's ardent fans.
"After winning in Belgium we want to carry on like this over the last few races, trying to stay on the podium," said the 2007 world champion whose victory was his first for 26 races.
"The success at Spa was very important for the team. I could see the guys in front of the podium and understood just how much the victory meant to them, especially in such a difficult season.
"It was great for me to listen to the Finnish and Italian national anthems after such a long time, and it would be excellent to repeat it again before the end of the season."
On Ferrari's home soil would be the ideal venue, with Raikkonen adding: "It's one of the most important GPs of the year.
"Racing at Monza in front of our fans, with all the Prancing Horse flags waving, is a fantastic feeling, and it would be great to give them satisfaction.
"I've never won a race in Italy, but I have always liked racing at Monza, and although for me there's no extra pressure, I know how much the team wants to have a great race here.
"It will be a difficult weekend, but I can promise the fans we will give our best as usual."
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food