Italian GP - "Not the strongest race for us"
There was a predominantly Italian flavour to today's FIA Press Conference, with Mark Webber the only interloper on the panel that featured three Italian drivers and "honorary Italian," Kimi Raikkonen. The Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver has always liked this track and is looking forward to the weekend that represents the home race for his team. "I will be racing here for the first time as a Ferrari driver and I think we can expect this weekend to be a bit more hectic than usual," said the Finn. "But it changes nothing on the racing side as we try our best at every race, whatever the country."
In the past, Raikkonen has proved his liking for this track by being fastest in practice and qualifying, but he reckons it is a difficult challenge to master. "Yes, I like Monza, but it is a difficult track to set-up the car as it is bumpy, you run low downforce and you have to deal with the bumps. All the same I hope to be in a position to fight for the win on Sunday." Raikkonen tested here last week and he was honest in his appraisal about how the two days turned out. "It is always difficult to say how competitive you are from the times in testing as you can only guess what fuel loads the others are using," he explained. "I was not completely happy with my car, but I think we will be able to improve it further over the next couple of days. Even so, I do not expect this to be the strongest race for us."
Still in a mood of honest self-assessment, the Ferrari man explained that he felt he had lost some recent races in Saturday afternoon's qualifying. "I have just got it wrong in qualifying a couple of times," he admitted. "I've been a bit on the edge with the tyres and we are still trying to find the ideal set-up for qualifying, while we are good in race trim."
Finally, the obvious question about new developments in the "F1 spy scandal." "The whole spy business is unfortunate," commented Kimi. "But within the team the atmosphere is really good and that business will have no effect on the way we race."