Raikkonen will be ‘allowed’ to win on Sunday
Kimi Raikkonen says he has no intention of playing second fiddle to Ferrari team mate Sebastian Vettel on Sunday, after successfully claiming pole position in qualifying at Monza.
Vettel is fighting Lewis Hamilton for the world championship, but Raikkonen said that this wasn’t going to stop him from racing for victory in tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix.
The team mates will start alongside each other on the front row. Raikkonen certainly doesn’t intend to let Vettel pass him into the first chicane, whatever the consequences for the title.
“Obviously, we want to win. It’s simple as that.
“We can race but we obviously need to be careful with each other,” he said. “No different than any other race really.
“I don’t see how it changes anything,” he continued. “I don’t think anybody will purposely take a stupid amount of risk to damage somebody else’s car and yours at the same time.”
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Vettel agreed that there were no team orders in place, and no reason why Raikkonen shouldn’t now go on to win the race.
“Is Kimi ‘allowed’ to win? Well, if he’s starting from pole, I guess he’s allowed to win,” Vettel said. “It’s a long race. Obviously he wants to win, I want to win. Hopefully one of us will win.”
The crucial moment will likely be at the first corner when the chances of an accidental collision between team mates are greatest.
“You are still always trying to get out ahead no matter who you’re racing,” said Vettel. “For sure you try to avoid contact. But then again, as I said, you try to avoid that anyway.
“It’s not like there’s another car and you say yeah, I’m happy to make contact. With our cars you can’t really afford to touch or be touched.”
It’s not as if it’s Raikkonen first time starting from pole position. “I think I have 17 times before a similar story,” the Finn pointed out. “It’s not my first one.
“The race is long and many things can happen; we need to do a perfect job,” he added. “For sure we have a good car and the best possible starting place.”
As for the 2018 championship battle itself, Raikkonen is taking a wait-and-see attitude about how the remainder of the season unfolds – and if-and-when team orders might become a reality.
“What will happen at the end of the season and the end of the championship, nobody knows,” he said. “We can only do our best as a team and, yeah, work as hard as we can. Is that enough? Time will tell. That’s the aim. I will not start guessing what will happen.”
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