Kimi Raikkonen hasn’t lost a Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps since 2002. If he wins this year, he’ll match the achievements of Ayrton Senna and Jim Clark in winning four times in a row at Spa in F1.
But he also hasn’t won a race since the Spanish Grand Prix in April.
One of those streaks has to come to an end in this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix. Which one will it be?
Some drivers seem to have an affinity for particular tracks. Felipe Massa has won at Istanbul for the last three years in a row. Lewis Hamilton has raced at Monaco five times (in F1 and other categories) and scored four wins and a second place. Timo Glock scored F1 points on his debut at Montreal in 2004, almost won the Champ Car race there in 2005, and was fourth for Toyota at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve this year.
If Kimi Raikkonen has a form track, it has to be Spa-Francorchamps.
His win at the track in 2004 may have lacked the style of his celebrated 17th-to-first stormer at Suzuka in 2005, but in some ways it was even more impressive.
Michael Schumacher destroyed the opposition in with his F2004 that year. Going into the Belgian Grand Prix he had won 12 of the last 13 rounds, while McLaren had struggled with their uncompetitive MP4/19.
But with a much more potent B-version of the car at his disposal at Spa, Raikkonen scored a surprise win from tenth on the grid, Schumacher having started second. It was not the way Schumacher expected to wrap up his seventh title.
Raikkonen won again in 2005 in mixed conditions, partly thanks to team mate Juan Pablo Montoya making way, and dominated last year’s race for Ferrari as well (the Belgian Grand Prix wasn’t on the calendar in 2006).
Can he do the same this year? It largely depends on where he qualifies. He trails Felipe Massa by four to eight in qualifying this year and has admitted to having problems getting the most out of his tyres on a single lap.
The other threat to his Spa winning streak is Bridgestone’s choice of tyres for this round. Ferrari have made it clear they are unhappy with Bridgestone’s decision to use the hard and medium compounds at this year’s race, having brought medium and soft in 2007.
The last variable is the weather. Ferrari have performed better in hotter weather this year, but Spa often sees mixed weather and a lot of rain. Conditions like this have played into McLaren’s hands this year.
Do you think Kimi Raikkonen will win a fourth consecutive Belgian Grand Prix.