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Raikkonen eyes vital points
James Jose / 1 November 2012
While one world championís comeback hasnít gone as expected, another world champion is enjoying a dream return to Formula One.
Michael Schumacher hasn’t quite had it going in his second stint, but everything has fallen in place for Kimi Raikkonen, except that elusive win.
Raikkonen, who raced for Sauber, McLaren-Mercedes and finally won a world title with Ferrrari, quit the sport. But he made a comeback this season with LotusF1, formerly Renault. The ‘Iceman’ sits third in the drivers’ standings after notching six podium finishes.
Raikkonen and Lotus had signed a two-year deal with the second year based on a performance clause. With good results coming their way, the pair have induced that clause and the Finn will be driving for them in 2013.
Raikkonen, who won the world title with Ferrari in 2007, still has a mathematical chance of winning a second title this season. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel is on course to wrapping a hat-trick of world titles after four wins on the trot. The German is on 240 points followed by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso on 227. Raikkonen has 173 points.
Raikkonen is coming off a seventh place finish at the Indian Grand Prix and is hoping to notch some vital championship points in Abu Dhabi.
The Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be held at the Yas Marina Circuit from Thursday to Sunday.
“The facilities are second to none at Abu Dhabi. The track layout makes it really challenging for overtaking, while there are not too many places to pass. You really have to qualify well to be on the top, and to get a strong result from there. There are many corners and you need good overall downforce and grip. The car has to ride the kerbs very well, too. Having an evening race with a mixture of day and night makes a different challenge from circuits that we see anywhere else. We start with the sun and finish with the lights. It’s different, interesting and spectacular too. Hopefully, we can be a bit smarter and use our race speed to take some more championship points. The car is good, and if we manage to qualify higher, then I think we would be in a good position to be able to take the most from the next few races,” said Raikkonen.
Raikkonen’s teammate Romain Grosjean has good memories of the Yas Marina Circuit. He finished second in a GP2 Asia Series race and also won a GT1 World Championship race at the Yas Marina. Also, he returned to Formula One by taking part in a free practice session last year.
“Abu Dhabi is another exotic destination. The track is not used very much during the year which means we know we’re going to get low grip there at the start of the weekend. The track looks very nice on TV and there are many second gear corners which should suit the E20; I’m looking forward to it! I have a lot of good memories from Abu Dhabi and know it quite well. So, I’m looking forward to returning. It’s normally sunny and a nice place to be. Let’s see what we can do,” said Grosjean.
LotusF1 debuted their Coanda exhaust to their Lotus E20 but it didn’t go too well at the Indian Grand Prix where they couldn’t touch top speeds. The team ruled out that they will use the double DRS but will go in with an evolved Coanda exhaust system in Abu Dhabi.
LotusF1 team principal Eric Boullier said there would be new updates for Abu Dhabi which should give them more speed. “I think we have some interesting developments coming for Abu Dhabi which should allow us to have more speed and even better performance from the car. Ideally, this should put us in a position to have a more successful qualifying and definitely also help us in the race itself. Therefore, we look ahead to Abu Dhabi as being an interesting race for us. We will try to be in the top six for qualifying, and maintain or improve that for the race to bring some important points home,” said Boullier.
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