Raikkonen expects power deficit to be fully exposed
Kimi Raikkonen is expecting Ferrari's power disadvantage to be fully exposed in Sunday's Italian Grand Prix.
The Ferrari powerunit has been down on performance all year compared to rivals Mercedes and its power deficit is likely to be at its most obvious this weekend at the high-speed Monza. Raikkonen, who finished fourth at the Belgian Grand Prix two weeks ago, said Ferrari might still be competitive in practice and qualifying but would struggle in the race.
"I guess we expect to have a more difficult race here because the straightline speed is a bit what we are lacking," he said. "Not in qualifying but in a race conditions I believe we have a big disadvantage to the Mercedes cars, and probably the Renault. We thought that would also be the case in Spa and it was surprisingly good for us, so hopefully we will find out it's a similar case here. We have to really see tomorrow and hopefully find out it is pretty okay, but still we expect it to be pretty tricky."
Raikkonen believes Ferrari has made progress, but warned that it might have to wait until next year before it can start targeting regular podiums again.
"The aim is to try to get to the front all the time, and obviously we are not where we should be as a team. We will be working hard to get ourselves in there, if not at the end of the year then next year and in the future. It will be hard to make big steps between now and the end of the season, but we improved little by little and put ourselves to be fighting for podiums at the end of the year.
"We had strong races before and we should have been in the podium, but those things can happen and we just try to do the best and hopefully stuff will go in the direction I want with the car and the feeling is better. When we get stuff happening like I want we can be good."
Despite his good result at Spa-Francorchamps, Raikkonen said it was not the turning point in his year and that the car had felt good for several races but been hit with minor issues.
"We had a pretty okay feeling before Spa, but always some damage to the car or something. In Germany I was hit by another driver a few times and we had small issues with certain things. In Hungary we put ourselves in a pretty bad position after qualifying and when you produce those kinds of issues and mistakes it's very difficult to get a result. In Belgium we had issues on the Friday, but we were able to get rid of those and the race itself was probably the first race where we had no issues at all. We could run at our own speed and do the things that we planned to do and the result was a bit better.
"Who knows, hopefully we'll have a good race here, but if we retired here or at the next race I'm sure people would say it's back to what happened before. The feeling has been there for a while but we have to make sure we have no issues and make sure it's a clean weekend and we can run our normal programmes on Friday. It's small things but it makes a big difference. That's our aim and this race might be a bit more tricky with the top speed, but overall it's getting better."