Raikkonen confident of Turkish delight

Raikkonen confident of Turkish delight

A dismissive Kimi Raikkonen has written off the challenge of his rivals ahead of this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix.

World champion Raikkonen would appear to have a point as Ferrari have dominated the last two races of this season in Bahrain and Spain.

The team have enjoyed one-two finishes in both grands prix, with Felipe Massa spearheading the way in Manama and Raikkonen at the head of affairs in Barcelona.

It is hard to see anybody beyond Ferrari taking the spoils at the Istanbul Park circuit where Massa has won for the last two years.

The Brazilian finished 2.2seconds ahead of Raikkonen in the race last August, although with the grand prix switched to May, temperatures are considerably cooler.

Raikkonen, though, is convinced he and Ferrari will continue to put the heat on their competitors.

“I bet all the top teams have done their homework very carefully on how to beat us in Turkey,” remarked Raikkonen.

“But there is no reason to worry about that because I believe Ferrari will go fast there too.

“If you look at the circuits we’ve raced at this season, Istanbul is demanding in a similar way to Malaysia and Bahrain.

“Well, Ferrari won both of those, and that gives us a good feeling that we should again be very competitive.”

After two wins and a second place in four races to date, Raikkonen holds a nine-point cushion over McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.

The Finn concedes he is “very happy with how things have gone so far,” although he is wary of the shifting sands that can often occur in Formula One.

“Things can change very quickly, so the whole team needs to keep pushing 100% to stay ahead of our competitors,” insisted the 28- year-old.

“But I won’t change anything in my approach. It’s far too early in the season to think about anything other than taking maximum points at every grand prix.

“I must confess I really like this part of the season. We should go for it every time. Only winning matters.

“We are leading the championship, but it does not count if we are unable to keep our position when it really means something.”

Raikkonen knows victory in Turkey will again more than likely boil down to who is quickest in qualifying.

The three grands prix to date in Istanbul have all been won by the driver on pole, and Raikkonen feels that is unlikely to change on this occasion.

“Obviously Spain was a perfect weekend for me and the team,” added Raikkonen, who completed Formula One’s hat-trick of pole, race win and fastest lap.

“Now we want to make sure we keep our position. At least I know we will push very hard.

“In Barcelona I got my first pole of the season, and it helped a lot.

“In Istanbul it seems it’s a must to be on pole there too. Last year I made a mistake in Q3 and it really hurt.

“To win in Turkey you have to start from pole, just like in Barcelona.”

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