Kimi Raikkonen to win four in a row at Spa? (2008 Belgian Grand Prix preview)

Kimi Raikkonen is eyeing a fourth consecutive F1 win at Spa-Francorchamps

Kimi Raikkonen is eyeing a fourth consecutive F1 win at Spa-Francorchamps

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.

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68 comments on Kimi Raikkonen to win four in a row at Spa? (2008 Belgian Grand Prix preview)

  1. Journeyer said on 1st September 2008, 12:54

    Alastair, it was as dull as it was dry. And it was very dry. Perhaps that’s why you don’t remember it.

    Sush, this is horrible news! Can’t they keep their hands off the circuit layout? They keep changing it nowadays!

    Also, will this mean Spa will be dropped from the 2009 calendar to make these changes?

  2. Stealthman said on 1st September 2008, 12:59

    Kimi might win, but then he might not. I’ll keep my mouth shut until I look at the results on F1 Fanatic on Monday morning.

    On another note – Sush, post 14 –
    If the shortening-of-Spa rumour is true, then I will brand the designers heretics! It is sacrilege to cut off the fast approach to Blanchimont! SACRILEGE, I tell you!

  3. i concur number16 +17

    and by branding do you mean with a red hot poker?

    I mean what the hell are they thinking? next thing you’ll know they’ll make rubbish atempts at shortening the Nordschielfe!?

    oh wait.

  4. If they cut off Blanchimont I’m ready for a sit-in of protesting.
    Destroying Hockenheim, keeping off Silverstone and Imola, “chicaning” Barcelona…isn’t that enough?

  5. Why do they always feel the need to ruin every good circuit, next they will make ‘changes’ to Eau Rouge, claiming it is too dangerous or some crap like that. I’m all for the protesting David!

  6. The shorter the track the more laps they run, the more car passages the audience see, the higher number of tickets they sell. Not the tell about circuit maintenance cost. All because of money.
    At Nordshleife they saw cars just 12 times passing through…

  7. They can’t change it. Bernie is losing it, getting rid of Silverstone and now cutting up Spa. The audience usually has a monitor to view the rest of the lap anyways!

    Kimi will win.

  8. The weather forecast is predicting a rainy race weekend in Spa this year:

  9. This is the last chance for Kimi. If he doesn’t win here, he will not win this year’s championship.

    I don’t remember him ever being under so much pressure.
    2003-he had a bad car
    2005-he had an unreliable car
    2007-he was far too back to be even seriously considered at this point last year.
    2008-more pressure than any other year before.

    But, he will do it, I think..

  10. verasaki said on 1st September 2008, 15:27

    what makes them think that changing one of the last classic tracks is going to make it more interesting for fans? my head is spinning. and since it does rain a bit at spa isn’t it sort of stupid to lay track that close to trees? i mean, that is one of the complaints about hockenheim- the trees down the back straight kept the water on the track making wet conditions worse.

    no doubt they’re planning on putting a nasty little chicane in there where they connect because we all know how exciting f1 fans think chicanes are.

    anyway-go kimi. i’d like to see him take spa.

  11. graham228221 said on 1st September 2008, 15:44

    apparently spa isn’t changing after all:

    who thinks that ferrari will put kimi on the lighter fuel load this weekend? i kinda think it would be his best chance to win.

    if he has yet another race stuck behind alonso (or anyone else who can defend well in a slower car) his head will just drop and he can’t show the race pace that’s obviously still there. somewhere.

    if massa is on the lighter fuel load again, then my hunch is that kimi has been dropped into the support role.

  12. Dorian said on 1st September 2008, 16:54

    I’m really rooting for Kimi this time as he usually shines at this venue, plus he really needs another win….Badly!! Either way, I’m very much hoping for a Ferrari 1-2 (regardless of who is number 1 and who is number 2), or in the very least a Ferrari 1-3. I fear that if Ferrari don’t stamp their feet at Spa, then the championships (both WDC and WCC)will inexorably be beyond their grasp. They NEED to win at THEIR tracks in the very least and then do the best that they can in the others. Especially considering there’s still another unknown circuit to go. If they can’t win at THEIR tracks, then it will not bode well for them at all…

  13. Alastair said on 1st September 2008, 17:26

    Bad weather for Ferrari and Kimi needing to race his wheels off to stay in the championship…

    Looks like it’s going to be a good race!

    I don’t know why Kimi keeps opting for a long first stint. I guess it’s because he doesn’t want to qualify behind Massa on a similar fuel load. This way he can always say he was heavier.

    This reliance on race speed is crippling him because he keeps getting caught behind slower cars and not being able to use the extra laps. He has to step up and challenge Massa and Lewis on Saturday, or he must support Massa, who is obviously better on Saturday. With the cars and tracks as they are, overtaking is nigh impossible. Quali is everything and if he can’t match Massa in Quali, then he needs to give the little guy a hand in getting the WDC.

  14. diseased rat said on 1st September 2008, 18:53

    I am really interested to see how Massa performs in the wet after Silverstone, I find it hard to beleive he is really that bad and have to think somehow the setup worked heavily against him. He’s been on a major charge recently so he will certainly be firing on all cylinders. We’ll see if he’s got the stuff for a wet race.

    This is make or break for Raikkonen, if he has a bad race I see the chances of him retiring this year greatly increasing.

    I can see Hamilton playing it conservative again, and who can blame him. He has learned from last year to score rather than race hard for the win. When I see people predicting he will fly off the track each race I wonder if they are watching the same season as me.

    All the pieces are in place for plenty of action this weekend. Let’s hope it lives up to the promise!

  15. Firstly greetings everyone, Im a new blogger to this site though i blog on The Uk’s Guardian Unlimited quite alot. Anyway im looking forward to this weekends race hugely, partly because im going and of course mostly because its the worlds best circuit- Montreal runs it close for me and Suzuka but jeez, theyre not 3 hours drive from Dover. Its the only time i wish for a dry hot race — so campings more fun. yes im from the Schumacher school of selfishness. Also Bernie the richest dwarf in the west should think carefully. F1 needs Spa as much as Spa needs f1. We are a commited audience, Asia is just having a look to see what the fuss is about, it may lose interest.

    Also, is not the problem with Kimi that he is quick but no racer – the oft sighted “race craft” is missing. Hamilton has more memorable moves in 1 season than KImi in 9. Massa is learning the craft of the overtake and Alonso is a stock car street hussler but Kimi is a pits over taker and maybe he knows it.

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