Raikkonen emergence continues

After narrowly missing out on his first Grand Prix win at Magny Cours a month ago, Kimi Raikkonen achieved his first front row qualifying performance at Spa and impressed everyone with his commitment

Raikkonen emergence continues

The first evidence of it came early in qualifying when Raikkonen came blasting through Eau Rouge to be confronted by a white cloud of smoke as Olivier Panis lost his second Honda engine of the weekend.

Did he lift? Not a bit of it. In fact, seeing the smoke ahead he had the presence of mind to radio the McLaren pit to ask which side of the road the BAR was on! Understandably, he had arrived on the scene before an answer was forthcoming but made his choice after spotting the oil trail on the circuit and kept his foot firmly planted.

He did likewise on his final run despite dropping a wheel off at the fifth gear Pouhon and seeing Pedro de la Rosa throw up dirt in front of him. He actually set a third sector best and improved his time to cement his front row spot while expressing disappointment that the incidents had prevented him from trying to nudge Michael Schumacher off the pole.

"You can see from last year that he is one of the bravest, with great car
control and just goes for it," said an impressed Gerhard Berger, while McLaren boss Ron Dennis added: "He was relaxed at the first race and as each one goes past he is just more relaxed and more focused. He becomes more confident and I think that will continue for several years."

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