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Raikkonen calm over championship position

ESPN Staff
May 17, 2013 « Van der Garde eyeing 2014 | Lotus confident in qualifying pace »
Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel are separated by just four points in the championship © Sutton Images
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Kimi Raikkonen says he isn't satisfied with his start to the season as he isn't leading the world championship.

Sebastian Vettel heads Raikkonen by four points with over a quarter of the season gone after Raikkonen's second place in the Spanish Grand Prix. Despite being in such close pursuit of the reigning champion, Raikkonen says he'd only be happy if he was top of the standings.

"Well, we're not in first place so we can't be too happy," Raikkonen said. "For sure it's not a nightmare, but we've still got a lot of races yet to come and anything can happen in Formula 1. Monaco's a different challenge, so we'll have to see what happens there this year."

Raikkonen was also keen to play down the importance of winning in Monaco in the context of the title but admits it's a special race.

"It's useless to put races in different categories, because all of them are as important as each other if you want to win a Championship. However, as a real special race there is nothing like Monaco; there is no better feeling than to get things going well there. To race in the streets of Monte Carlo is really different from everywhere else and it's a challenge I look forward to every year. It is very, very difficult - almost impossible in fact - to have a clean weekend down there."

With Lotus tending to struggle more on a Saturday than race day, Raikkonen admitted the team would have to focus on improving its qualifying pace.

"We have to focus on qualifying. It's a difficult place to race as it's so narrow and - as I said before - passing is nearly impossible. I was stuck behind Rubens [Barrichello] in 2009 and we had KERS then, but you just couldn't get past. We'll have to see how the tyres perform and if there are any good strategies to be made, but the most important thing is to qualify well. It's difficult to know how good the car will be in Monaco as you can't simulate its characteristics; certainly not at any of the circuits we've visited so far this year anyway. We can say the E21's been fast everywhere else so let's hope it's also fast there."