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Last Updated: Friday, 29 June 2007, 07:39 GMT 08:39 UK
Raikkonen ready to answer critics
Kimi Raikkonen
Raikkonen has failed to live up to expectations at Ferrari
Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen says he is optimistic he can soon find the form that was expected of him this season.

The Finn was Ferrari's replacement for seven-time champion Michael Schumacher but has been overshadowed by team-mate Felipe Massa so far this season.

Currently 26 points off championship leader Lewis Hamilton, Raikkonen said he has a "positive feeling" about Sunday's French Grand Prix.

"We have improved the car. It felt good at Silverstone last week," he said.

"Certain things haven't been right. We have to try to improve them.

"We obviously don't expect to be in this position, and I expect better results, but that's racing.

"Hopefully at some point we will get it right and we can get the results we want and I can drive how I want, although this seems to be taking a long time.

We got distracted for a moment and I don't like this situation - we have to regain our competitiveness

Luca di Montezemolo
Ferrari president

Raikkonen's remarks come a week after Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said he was growing impatient waiting for Raikkonen to produce his expected form.

"We are waiting for the real Raikkonen, the one that everyone fears," he said.

"Kimi's always been in the fight, now we're waiting for him to go back to being the one everyone fears."

In the wake of those remarks, rumours have surfaced that Ferrari want to swap him for Williams driver Nico Rosberg, with Raikkonen moving to Toyota next season as replacement for Ralf Schumacher.

But asked about the rumours, Raikkonen insisted: "I'm in a pretty safe place."

Di Montezemolo drew upon the influence of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, the man Raikkonen replaced in the team, to try to inspire him back to his previous form.

"Michael has said Kimi and Fernando (Alonso) were his toughest rivals, and Alonso has said the same about Raikkonen and Schumacher," he said.

Di Montezemolo said the team needed to do something to catch McLaren, who are dominating the drivers' and constructors' championships.

"Clearly the two McLaren drivers are formidable," he said.

"We got distracted for a moment and I don't like this situation. We have to regain our competitiveness.

"We have all the means to fight back and we must work out how to recover the two or three tenths (of a second) that separate us from McLaren."

Follow live coverage of the French Grand Prix on this website and Radio Five Live. Qualifying is at 1300 BST on Saturday, with the race 24 hours later.

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