Raikkonen aiming for a stronger first half of the season in 2018

by Rachel Hack

Scuderia Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen says he is hoping to put himself into championship contention from the get go in 2018, by having a much stronger start to his campaign than in 2017.

Despite the Italian squad getting off to a good start this year through the Finn’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who took victory at the season opener in Australia, before picking up two further wins and finishing no lower than second place in the first six rounds of 2017, Raikkonen was only able to finish on the podium once in that same timeframe.

A retirement from the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix left the Finn well behind in the points stakes from an early stage in proceedings, but the 2007 world champion was able to recover to fourth place in the standings by the end of the year, by just pipping Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo to that spot in the final race of 2017.

Raikkonen has vowed to start 2018 in much stronger form, to give himself a chance of fighting for the title. as he explained to Racer.com recently.

“It doesn’t matter what happened, there’s always a lot of reasons how the year unfolded and there hasn’t been just one reason. In the end, only one guy is happy, and for us you can say the year wasn’t what we wanted.

“Some years your car is not strong enough so you can honestly say that’s why you didn’t win, but this year we were fourth-best and that’s how it goes.

“Next year we’ll try again, we’ll try to put things together in a better way, we’ll try to start the season stronger, in the first races, keep fighting, hopefully it will go our way sometimes, and it’s important not to have DNF’s like we had this year.”

Raikkonen failed to finish four races in 2017, and the Finn believes that reliability has become a more prevalent factor in affecting the outcome of the championship once again this season, in comparison to recent years.

“These days the cars are usually very reliable, and you cannot expect people to have a DNF. In the past, it was easier for that to happen, but now when you have a DNF you drop a lot of points.

“I think we had positive things too, but there are small things we have to improve.

“We should be OK, it will be a new year, and everyone will be starting from zero, so let’s see what we can do in the tests and in the first races.”

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