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Page last updated at 15:04 GMT, Thursday, 4 September 2008 16:04 UK

I need win in Belgium - Raikkonen

Belgian Grand Prix
Venue: Spa-Francorchamps circuit Date: Sunday 7 September Coverage: Live coverage on ITV, live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live

Kimi Raikkonen
Raikkonen hopes his experience in Spa will pay off on Sunday

Kimi Raikkonen says he must win this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix to keep his world title defence alive.

The Ferrari driver trails McLaren's championship leader Lewis Hamilton by 13 points with six races remaining.

"I need it more than ever after the results of the last races," said Raikkonen, who has won the last three Grands Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.

"Considering I have not won a race in several months, a success would help me to get back in the race."

A second retirement of the season in Valencia two weeks ago saw Raikkonen slip further back in the title hunt.

The Finn's last victory came at the Spanish Grand Prix in May and a dismal mid-season has gathered him just 22 points from the last possible 60.


"Things go wrong sometimes," added Raikkonen, who is confident recent testing in Monza has ironed out his technical problems.

His Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa will also be determined to press his claims to the drivers' crown in Spa.

After a fourth victory of the season in Valencia, Massa closed to within six points of Hamilton in the standings.

The Englishman expects Ferrari to have the edge in Belgium, but is confident he can run them close in his McLaren.

"On the tracks with the long straights they always seem to have a slight advantage, but I think it will balance out," said the 23-year-old, who finished fourth at Spa last year.

"Here they will be strong like they were last year, but we have made a step forward with our car and we should be able to challenge them this weekend. Last year we weren't in a position to do so."

And Hamilton is confident that McLaren will have the upper hand over Ferrari in at least four of the five remaining races after Belgium.

"I think in Monza they will probably be a lot quicker than they were last year, but still I think we will have the upper hand," he said.

"In Singapore they will probably be very quick like they were in Valencia, so maybe they will have the upper hand there. Fuji and Shanghai, last year we were very strong there.

"I honestly feel we have the better package for the remaining races."

However, BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica has backed Massa to pip Hamilton to a maiden championship.

"I said at the beginning of the year that if I had to put money on anybody then I would put it on Massa, and I will stick with that," said Kubica, who is two points adrift of Raikkonen in fourth place.

Massa has everything to fight for the championship, and maybe to win it.

BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica

"I think most people don't realise he is doing a very good job. To trouble Kimi is not easy, but he has done it.

"In some races Kimi has been quicker, but lately Felipe has more often been in front of him, and with quite considerable gaps.

"In the past Felipe has made mistakes but he is now doing a very good job. He has made massive progress.

"He has everything to fight for the championship, and maybe to win it.

"But everything will come down to car performance and which track better suits Ferrari or McLaren."

With the weather in Spa prone to change rapidly, conditions over the race weekend could swing in favour of each rival team.

But the initial forecast of rain and low temperatures for Sunday could play into McLaren's hands as their cars have tended to respond better to cooler conditions.

see also
Raikkonen given Ferrari backing
29 Aug 08 |  Formula One
Raikkonen defiant over poor form
28 Aug 08 |  Formula One
Massa closes on Hamilton with win
24 Aug 08 |  Formula One
Ferrari admit to engine concerns
26 Aug 08 |  Formula One

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