Kimi Raikkonen hailed the glorious Spa-Francorchamps circuit after recording his first victory for Ferrari this season.
The Finn used his KERS boost to rocket past Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella at the safety car restart, and from there held on to record a resounding victory.
For Raikkonen’s team-mate, Luca Badoer, the race was disappointing. The Italian struggled throughout the Grand Prix, eventually finishing last on the track – in fourteenth.
Kimi Raikkonen – 1st: “A great victory for me and the team. The champagne tastes the same wherever you are on the podium, but the feeling when you win is definitely different. This track has everything a driver could want and it’s a pleasure to drive here, however, there’s no particular secret to explain why I’ve won here four times. We wanted to win at least one race and we’ve done it. Our car was not the best in the pack, but we managed to put everything together and this result comes from all the work done with the team. I got away well, but Rubens was stuck in front of me and I had to avoid him. Then, at the first corner and at the end of the straight, I managed to move up to second. Behind the Safety Car, I thought mainly about keeping the tyres and brakes up to temperature to be able to attack Fisichella at the restart, and that’s how I managed to pass him quite easily. At the first pit stop, maybe it would have been better to stay with the softer tyre but that’s easy to say afterwards. In the final part, when it seemed I might not be able to fight off Giancarlo, I slightly changed the way I used the KERS so as to defend myself on the straight at Stavelot and so I managed to stay in front. Monza will be difficult, because our car is not particularly good over the kerbs, but we will try and do our best.”
Luca Badoer – 14th: “Today I did my best. Unfortunately, at the first corner after the start, I flat-spotted the front tyres and so I always had strong vibrations throughout the first stint. Once the tyres were changed, the situation improved, but the performance of the harder compound was not as good as the soft one. I have upped my performance level yet again and I really want to race at Monza, one of the tracks I know best, along with Fiorano and Mugello. I am very happy for Kimi and the team: this is a fantastic victory, which was just what we needed at this point in the season.”
Stefano Domenicali: “We are very happy with this win, which is a reward for all the hard work that the entire team has done during such a difficult and at the same time, dramatic season. I wish to dedicate it first and foremost to President Montezemolo, who celebrates his birthday tomorrow. I don’t think he could have asked for a better present. Thanks go to our partners, first and foremost Philip Morris and Shell, who have always stood shoulder to shoulder with us, as have our fans, with their unfailing support. A thought also goes to Felipe who kept in touch from Miami, where tomorrow he undergoes a medical check. Kimi drove an amazing race today: we knew the first lap would be decisive and so it proved. He drove impeccably all race long and the team was at its very best during the two pit stops. In the last four races, we have always got one driver onto the podium and we have picked up a fair haul of points at the highest level, even in unusual circumstances. Today, Luca did the best he could and this win also reflects his contribution within the team: now we will take a few days to evaluate his immediate future, also based on what Felipe’s recovery time might be. Now we look to Monza, our home race, where we will do all in our power to continue down this road, even if we know it will be very difficult.”
Chris Dyer: “A fantastic result for the team and for Kimi. After qualifying, we knew that we could have a good race if we got a good start. Kimi was fantastic, both on the first lap and then at the restart after the race was neutralised and he managed to take the lead. Fisichella was always right behind him and congratulations also to him for his performance. He and Kimi always pitted together and our guys managed on both occasions to send our driver out on track ahead of his closest rival. In the middle stint, we used the harder tyre but, with hindsight, we might have done better to pick the softer one: not only could we not open the gap over Giancarlo but we then had Vettel closing us down. Fortunately, at the second stop, the positions remained unchanged and Kimi did a good job of managing the situation in the closing laps. Today, the F60 was not the best car, but the team work and the talent of the driver produced the win and that’s what counts.”