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. excuse me? Kimi has had many racing moments. Massa has never passed for the lead other than off the line from 2nd.

    In anycase, hopefully at the latest test Ferrari has made the car suit Kimi’s style better. For some reason they made it more towards massa, I guess since he was always spinning off the track…but in the process of changing the car to help Massa stay on the course, they have screwed up Kimi’s setup.

  2. I really can’t agreed with that!
    Reading what il Capo, Ferrari’s vice president PIERO FERRARI has said in 2008 pre season, it reveals another thing:

    “…”He will have a car that better suits his driving style, because I think that was the problem at one time last year: his style did not suit the F2007 and viceversa…”


  3. Juhhi said on 2nd September 2008, 1:00

    I think that in Spa Kimi has chance to prove that He is still there. He has problems still with QF, but his race pace has always been good if he has not stucked behind slower car on a track where passing is impossible. In Spa passing is possible so if he can get to place 3-4 in QF, he still got the chance.

    But I still can´t realize why he just cant have/take lighter car…why why why…

    If he again lose points against Massa, supporter role calls him loud…and that´s new situation for him. I wonder would Kimi do like Barrichello did with Schumacher past years? Give win to team mate barely always when got chance to win…can he swallow his pride?? Hamilton would not, thats for sure…

  4. Daniel said on 2nd September 2008, 1:29

    @ Dorian: I think you might be right about the WDC, but it’s unlikely Ferrari will lose the WCC, because Kovalainen’s not scoring enough points at the moment…

  5. Polak said on 2nd September 2008, 2:18

    Daniel: Haiki not scoring enough points at the moment? He has outscored Kimi and Massa as the total of the past 5 races.
    Since Magny-Course

    Hamilton : 32 points
    Kovalainen: 28 points
    Massa : 26 points
    Kimi : 22 points

    Haiki might have been weak at the beginning of the season but he has since been scoring descent points. It might be at the expense of Ferrari’s short comings bu its still points that count substantially.

    I got a question about Quali at Spa. Since the track is so long, will it be easier for the guys with tyre problems to get some heat in them before the flying lap? If so we should see Kimi on top of his game and possibly even Heidfeld closer to Kubica.

  6. bernification said on 2nd September 2008, 2:41

    I think this weekend is going to be between Hamilton and Massa.
    The possiblity of lower temperatures, Bridgestones tyre choice and Kimi struggling to get his tyres up to temperature quick enough weigh against him heavily, but hell, I would love to see him live up to his WDC (which previously he deserved, but last year fell into, due to Mclaren bad calls and Hammys inexperience).
    If there is anywhere that a driver can make the difference it is here, and maybe that will be enough motivation for Kimi to stay off the Vodka long enough!

    I would love to see some of the overtaking moves put out by his fellow countryman- by anyone!

    Please Santa, for Christmas, can you give me overtaking in F1?

  7. Becken. That was pre-season and then they’ve changed it to Massa’s style because he couldn’t keep the car on the road and Schumacher wants his protege to win.

  8. bernification said on 2nd September 2008, 2:45

    PS. But not like in NASCAR- I don’t know, or care, who is leading!

    And some cool shades like the ones I lost in Germany- I’ve been very good this year!

  9. Post 23 Becken – Spa on the rain :) a great race in prospect..
    Well Hamilton did that great race on Sylverstone and Kubica also did an amazing race at Monaco,both on rain, and on both those races ferraris weren’t that good.
    Anyway i wish Kimi wins, he has been one of my favourite drivers since the mercedes days

  10. Polak – Very interesting theory about the tyres! It could even make up for the difference between the Ferrari’s and McLaren’s qualifying pace (on harder tyres) in general.

  11. In Qualifing in Spa Kimi will probablly have the temperature in his tyres becuase it a 7km lap and his always saying he cant get the temperature in one lap, this is basiclly a lap and half on any other track.

  12. Polak – very good observation.

    In fact, if you see some of the earlier qualifying sessions, Drivers do 4 laps on the same set of tyres instead of the customary 3-laps. Usually, the second time is quicker than 1st due to the excess heat.

    At Spa, we will mostly see the regular 3-lap stints and yes, Kimi and Heidfeld should do better now :)

  13. With Kimi loving to drive this track , and as said above , the longer lap should help him in quali. , he has a very good chance and I think he will win . The only two things that could spoil it for him is the weather (McLaren have the advantage of TC or a device that works even better) , and if Massa is close second behind , Ferrari may decide to give it to Massa. That said , if Massa can beat Kimi at Spa from the start on , I think that will cement Massa’s position as No. 1 at least for this year , so in a way , this is a make or break race for Kimi , which should give him maximum motivation.

  14. Must have missed something. Why do people think McLaren now have traction control? Obviously this is impossible, but I am interested to hear how people think they have managed to hoodwink the FIA to gain unfair advantage.

    Kimi needs to win. Would love to see it, although it would mean Ferrari still wouldn’t know who to back – which of course, can only help Hamilton’s WDC chances. Hamilton will be fast as usual, but at this stage, will be looking for points above all else.

  15. theres alot of kimi fans and i understand that; his inverted charisma and almost loner style is in stark contrast to the gushing schumacher or the eager to please hamilton. and i dont doubt hes quick but theres not that many classic overtakes to remember, hes a clear track bully to borrow a cricketing phrase or put it another way he s a rabbit killer. i think we need to constantly reappraise drivers and look for their achiles heel, they all have one. i think kimi’s is overtaking but im willing to be called wrong if theres back up rather than just “hes great, how dare you”

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