Best of Times, Worst of Times for Raikkonen

The most disappointing race of Kimi Raikkonen's career also brought him his best result in Formula One on Sunday.

Best of Times, Worst of Times for Raikkonen

The most disappointing race of Kimi Raikkonen's career also brought him his best result in Formula One on Sunday.

McLaren's young Finnish driver was leading the French Grand Prix when, with five laps remaining, he skidded on a patch of oil and went wide. Ferrari's Michael Schumacher was close behind and seized his opportunity to take the lead and with it the race and a record-equalling fifth World Championship.

"The car was great, the team was making very good pit stops, everything was working fine," Raikkonen told a news conference after finishing second.

"It was just my mistake that we lost the race. It was the most disappointing race of my life but that's the way it goes and next time I hope I can win."

Schumacher admitted afterwards that he did not think he would have found a way past without a mistake or Raikkonen being held up by a back marker. The Finn, whose previous best was third place in Australia and at the Nurburgring earlier this season, said that having the World Champion breathing down his neck had not rattled him at all.

"I didn't feel much pressure because I saw the gap was not really closing and it was rather getting bigger," he said. "Of course maybe 10 laps from the end Michael was catching me a little bit but I was taking it a bit more easy because I saw I was not getting much pressure from behind.

"The mistake came, it was just my mistake, I just locked a wheel on the oil and the lead was gone."

Raikkonen joined McLaren from Sauber at the end of last season after compatriot Mika Hakkinen opted to take a 'sabbatical' year out of Formula One. Hakkinen is not expected to return but McLaren have yet to confirm their 2003 line-up.

"I don't know what is going to happen next year yet," Raikkonen said. "I hope we will know more next weekend in Hockenheim."

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