One week on from their titanic clash in Belgium, Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton will once again find themselves doing battle in the Ardenne after heavy rain in qualifying for today’s Italian Grand Prix left them languishing alongside each other in fourteenth and fifteenth respectively.
With further showers predicted for Sunday, the dash down to the extremely tight first corner at Monza, which has seen more than its fair share of carnage over the years, will be treacherous and that is leaving aside the fact that Lewis Hamilton will be desperate to make up ground if he is to hunt down his championship rival Felipe Massa.
“Starting from the seventh row of the grid could be a bit tricky at the start, because the entry to the first chicane is very tight and it is easy to touch other cars,” conceded Raikkonen. “In the dry, the car is working very well but obviously, if it were to rain, it could give some chances to those who are starting further back like me.”
But while Raikkonen sees the wet weather as an opportunity to vault up the field, surprise pole sitter Sebastian Vettel, one of drivers to set a quick lap in Q2 yesterday before the heavy rain, reckons starting from the back in wet conditions will be extremely hazardous.
“I have done some other wet races and in formula racing it’s pretty limited when it comes to your view,” he said. “I would say the first two guys can maybe play around a bit but already from P5 onwards… I don’t even want to imagine how it will be.”
“If you are around P15, you actually can’t see anything, so you are trying to look left and right and as Mark (Webber) said, when you do a 53 lap time trial it’s OK, you challenge yourself and the car.”
“But obviously it’s a race and that means someone has to follow another car and there will be a big group that will be a mess in terms of view, so that doesn’t make it safe.”