Preview: Raikkonen Favourite in Britain

Sunday's British Grand Prix can revive Kimi Raikkonen's title challenge, just as last year's race showed that McLaren were back in business

Preview: Raikkonen Favourite in Britain

The Finn, 24 points behind Renault's pacesetter Fernando Alonso with nine races remaining, started on pole position and finished second last year as McLaren emerged from a nightmare start to that Formula One season.

With McLaren now fighting for the Championship, he is the clear favourite again.

"Silverstone is usually good for us. We did one test there already this year and we were pretty quick so I think we will have a good week as long as we don't have any problems with the car," he said.

Even if Raikkonen finished only second in last weekend's French Grand Prix won by Alonso, his pace was noted by envious rivals.

Raikkonen would probably have won had he not been penalised 10 places on the starting grid for a blown engine in Friday practice. He still set the third best qualifying lap with much more fuel on board.

He also set the fastest lap on his way from 13th on the grid to second place.

"Aerodynamically, the McLaren is very strong and it (Silverstone) is a very big aero circuit," said BAR's Briton Jenson Button.

"I think we'll see them just walking away with it at Silverstone which is a little bit disappointing but that's the way it is."

The good news for Alonso, who said at the weekend that Renault had put a cross against the British Grand Prix before the season started as one of their more difficult races, is that McLaren do not have it all their own way.

Fisichella Confident

Raikkonen's teammate Juan Pablo Montoya will be disadvantaged by being one of the first out in qualifying after failing to finish in France.

That reduces the likelihood of a McLaren one-two and plays into the hands of Alonso, Ferrari's Michael Schumacher and Button.

While Alonso has said a podium finish is the most he can hope for, having never scored a point at Silverstone up to now, Italian teammate Giancarlo Fisichella is sounding more optimistic.

"I think we will be strong," he said. "When we tested there last month, McLaren also looked very quick so maybe they will be a little bit ahead of us.

"But we have new engine developments for Silverstone, which will give us a boost, and I have always had strong races there in the past."

Schumacher won easily last year in a dominant season for Ferrari, his 10th win in 11 races.

The champion has struggled in 2005, winning only last month's six-car U.S. Grand Prix after the seven Michelin teams withdrew for tyre safety reasons.

"I've always enjoyed driving there, and it's no different this time, although I can't really say how well we'll do there," the German said on his website.

"France was a little misleading in that respect," added Schumacher, who was third at Magny-Cours. "Following our performance on Friday and Saturday I had expected for a little more to be possible there so I'm slightly more cautious in making a prediction on the outcome.

Button, still without a win in 92 starts, believes third place is within his grasp but says he has no chance of winning. "It won't happen, we're not capable of doing that," he said.

shares
comments
Analysis: Teams Look to Oust Mosley

Previous article

Analysis: Teams Look to Oust Mosley

Next article

Britain Preview Quotes: McLaren

Britain Preview Quotes: McLaren
Load comments
French Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

French Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The French GP was a weekend decided by tiny margins both at the front of the field, as Red Bull inflicted a comeback defeat on Mercedes, and in the battle for the minor points places. That's reflected in our driver ratings, where several drivers came close to a maximum score

How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes Plus

How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes

The French GP has been a stronghold for Mercedes since Paul Ricard's return to the calendar in 2018. But that all changed on Sunday, as a clever two-stop strategy guided Red Bull's Max Verstappen to make a race-winning pass on the penultimate lap - for once leaving Mercedes to experience the pain of late defeat it has so often inflicted on Red Bull

The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push Plus

The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push

The age of the high-profile title sponsor is over, says JONATHAN NOBLE, but Formula 1’s commitment to technological innovation is attracting high-tech partners

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2021
How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era Plus

How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era

The 1956 Italian Grand Prix was over for Juan Manuel Fangio, along with his hopes of winning the world championship – until his Ferrari team-mate (and title rival) voluntarily surrendered his own car so Fangio could continue. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls Peter Collins, a remarkable sportsman

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France Plus

The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Plus

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Plus

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021 Plus

The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Formula 1
Jun 16, 2021