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

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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 :)

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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”

  6. salty- they have a mechanical lever in the cabin that the driver can use to limit power to one or t’other of the driven wheels therby reducing the chances of spin on the unloaded wheel. at least thats my understanding

  7. And this extra bit of control of the traction is nothing to do with traction control?

    Ferrari should ask the FIA if they can have it, too ;)

  8. Ah – you guys are refering to the engine mapping paddles on the McLaren. ALL the cars have engine mapping controls in the cockpit. All McLaren did was move the switches for this onto paddles next to the gear shift – smart move once the drivers get used to it. This is most definately not traction control. Engine mapping changes are allowed by regs and are used by all teams.

  9. most teams already do, its how the driver is interacting with that which could provide the clue to why heikke is so far off hamiltons pace and kimi off massa’s. pure speculation of course.

  10. McLaren should be immediately banned for having a device similar to traction control for wet races. It’s called the lewishamilton or something like this…

  11. Just been looking at the 5 day forecast for Spa on My guess is what would normally be a Ferrari weekend could well play in to the hands of McLaren this weekend. Highs of 18’c harder tyres. Unless the reds made a lot of progress in Italy last week, I can’t see their tyres getting warm enough to give one lap performance.

  12. my understanding is that they exploit the rule allowing multiple engine maps to be used. The McLaren, and possibly others, has extra paddles on the steering wheel allowing Lewis, and possibly Heiki, to quickly choose a different engine map that would lower the output of the engine. If they carefully set this for key corners during practice it would allow the car to go full throttle without the worry of traction loss. At worse it would give the driver a throttle pedal that is much more manageable during the corner.

    I wish Kimi well in the race as I would like to see him compete for WDC, but on the other hand he is only a few points a head of Kubica and it would be amazing if Kubica placed in top 3 WDC!!

  13. RUI {post 39}

    I´m just can’t wait to see how Ferrari will cope with the unpredictable. Everybody has noticed that they´re need sun and hot weather to perform on his better shape and bring us some of that boring races they use to do…

    I think Mclaren and Lewis seem to be are more flexible when they are in unpredictable conditions so they are favourite to win at Spa…

  14. POLAK,

    “…The McLaren, and possibly others…” In what this word OTHERS mean, you can include FERRARI on this team!

  15. i say its a massa/ham win….

  16. good knowledge polak. if thats true then it should be fairly easy to outlaw. personally id ban engine management full stop. back to gear changes, heal and towing and backmarkers who can stay online. remember coulthard taking 38 laps to pass a minardi or something. itd certainly separate the men from the boys.

  17. No. Massa’s first win is better!!! In wet conditions to shut up the criticism.

  18. If it rains, Lewis is my pick. If not, it’s between Kimi and Massa. And indeed, it’s coming down to make or break time for Kimi- if he dosen’t win this weekend, or at least finish ahead of both Hamilton and Massa, then he’s going to be relegated to supoorting Felipe the rest of the way.

  19. bernification
    3rd September 2008, 0:03

    As previously posted, the system that McLaren use on their steering wheels is used by all teams, just the means of activating it are different.
    Schumacher could be seen using it as far back as 2000/1, as well as having a means of balancing his brake bias on the steering wheel(but if you have 2 pedals, that’s illegal, right).

    As long as the system is ‘open loop’ and has no negative feedback to detect wheelspin and limit it, it is not, and can not be called traction control.

    I reckon that as Hamilton is so used to playstation type consoles, he has had some feedback of his own into making the mapping actuation similar to using games console controllers.

    I still think Bridgestones tyre choice will hurt Ferrari, unless the weather picks up. I fear Kimi might find he’s relagated to back up after the weekend.

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