Kimi Raikkonen
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Kimi expected to fight for '06 title
Monday, 16 October 2006

kimiface2Kimi Raikkonen has expressed his surprise at not being able to fight for the championship in 2006.

The Finnish star, who is about to embark on his last race for McLaren in Brazil before switching allegiance to Ferrari, told Formula 1's official website that he had expected to carry on this year where he left off in 2005 when he fought Fernando Alonso for the world crown.

"Obviously it's been a very disappointing season, and I fully expected to challenge for the championship at the beginning of the year," he said. "However, after a few races it was clear the package was not competitive enough...

"My goals changed in the middle of the year to try to win as many races as possible." But even that target proved difficult to achieve and for the first time since scoring his maiden win at Malaysia in 2003, Raikkonen faces going an entire season without victory if he does not finish first in Sao Paulo.

Japan was the scene of Kimi's most spectacular win of '05, but hopes that he might end the winless drought with a repeat performance at Suzuka this year were dashed by an off-par qualifying session - which the Finn blamed entirely on his equipment.

"One hundred percent technical," he said. "It’s been clear to see over the course of the season the package was not competitive at certain kinds of circuits, similar to Japan. "However, it was still a surprise not to make the top ten in qualifying. The race pace was more competitive."

Despite a difficult season with McLaren, who brought the 26-year-old to the top of the sport after plucking him from Sauber at the end of 2001, Kimi admits he is going to miss the Woking-based team. "It’s the end of a chapter in my F1 career," he said. "I will miss a lot of friends in the team that I have made over the past five years.

"My race wins stand out. "Malaysia being my first, then Monaco, Spa - 2004 and 2005 - and Japan last year, being the most memorable wins."

source: itv-f1.com 

 
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