The world champion’s recent inconsistent form has provoked criticism from both the media and some paddock observers, while speculation persists that the 28-year-old is considering retirement at the end of his Ferrari contract in 2009.
Last Sunday’s European Grand Prix prompted further questions about the Finn’s performances after he was again comprehensively outperformed by team-mate Felipe Massa and knocked a mechanic over in the pit lane during his final fuel stop – before an engine failure compounded his misery.
But despite falling 13 points adrift of championship leader Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ standings, Raikkonen is adamant he has both the necessary time and desire to remain in the title hunt.
“We knew we had to take a risk for Valencia and we did not finish the race,” he told his official website.
“It’s a shame, but it’s useless to grieve for that.
“One third of the season is still left and it’s enough to fight back.
“If somebody has doubts concerning my motivation, let them doubt.
“One thing I can say is that right now I am more motivated than ever.”
While keen to move on from his disappointing Valencia weekend, Raikkonen – who qualified with three laps more fuel than pole-sitter Massa – did concede he and the team probably got his strategy wrong given his poor recent qualifying form.
“The Friday practice was good – I had a good feeling in the car,” he said.
“But Saturday was a little bit cooler and we struggled again in qualifying.
“We should have been more aggressive.
“Obviously there has been a lot of talk about my qualifying problems.
“But in Hungary I just went wide on my last lap of Q3. Without that we would easily have been third. Then we got the fourth place and after that I knew the race would be very difficult again.”
He now hopes that next week’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, a venue where he is chasing a fourth consecutive victory at, is the place to start his title fightback.
“I love that circuit, and obviously, I would love to race there for the whole year long,” he said.
“It’s the best of all the circuits and hopefully we finally get the car working the way I want it to work.
“We go to Spa to win again.”
Blogged with the Flock Browser