Raikkonen Blames McLaren Hits for Poor Race
Unfortunately for the Scuderia fans, the reigning world champion found it quite hard to keep the peace with race leader Fernando Alonso and second place Robert Kubica and, except for putting a little pressure on the Pole in the dying laps of the Japanese Grand Prix, was never given a clear shot to winning on Sunday. The Finn put it all on the hits he received in the opening lap from both McLaren drivers.
“I got a pretty good start but then braking into Turn 1 I was trying to turn and there was first one McLaren and then a second. Both hit me and I had nowhere to go other than straight. I lost many places and had some damage on the front, I got back on circuit but was behind people. I lost straightaway the front, it didn't feel the same any more. Heikki hit me harder, the front felt quite light, I didn't know I didn't ask if we had damaged something”, said Kimi at the post-race press conference.
In the last part of the race, the Finn managed however to set the fastest time of the day, when desperately trying to get behind Robert Kubica and pull an overtaking maneuver for 2nd place. Raikkonen's attempt to pass the Pole got him a short visit to the run-off area, a point after which tire wear and poor car stability prevented him from trying anything else but secure a 3rd place finish.
The 28-year old Finn scored his first podium for Ferrari in the last 5 races and looks set to regaining his form for the closing stages on 2008. And that is certainly good news for teammate and title contender Felipe Massa, as the Brazilian seems to need all the help he can get to secure his first ever F1 title.
In the manufacturers' classification however, Ferrari ended the Japanese weekend on a high note, as the Italian team now sits 7 points clear of McLaren on top of the table.