Kimi Raikkonen sure Lotus will take second victory of 2013 if they sustain form
Finn looking to turn runner-up finishes into victories
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 23/07/13 3:37pm
In the eight races since he opened the season with an assured win in Melbourne, Raikkonen has finished in second place four times, with his latest victory near-miss coming at the Nurburgring three weeks ago when he chased down Sebastian Vettel to the chequered flag.
While the Finn's widely-heralded consistency has kept him in Championship contention at the mid-point of the season, he will nonetheless slip the equivalent of two race victories adrift of Sebastian Vettel for the first time in 2013 if the German wins at the Hungaroring this weekend.
Raikkonen, the 2005 Hungarian GP victor, isn't worrying yet though and is sure his second win of the season will come.
"Obviously we are here to try and win races," the 2007 World Champion said.
"We couldn't in Germany because we were not fast enough, but for the team it was a good result after a couple of quite difficult races. We lost some more points to the lead as Seb won, but it's still a long season and if we keep putting ourselves in a position to at least be fighting for first place then I think we can do it again."
However, history is against Raikkonen bucking his runner-up trend at this particular race weekend given, his solitary win there eight years ago for McLaren aside, the Finn has finished in second place at the Hungaroring four times - including on his last two visits.
Last season's race was a near carbon-copy of the Nurburgring, albeit with Lewis Hamilton and not Vettel as the lead runner, as first Romain Grosjean, and then Raikkonen himself, tried and failed to pass the ultimate race winner despite the Lotus appearing the fastest car.
"I have finished second in Hungary too many times, so I know how important it is to lead the race after the first corner," Raikkonen acknowledged.
"DRS or not, it's never easy to overtake at the Hungaroring. To get the weekend right, you have to have good sessions in FP1, FP2 and FP3, then a strong qualifying session and finally a perfect start to the race.
"Obviously you need to get to the front in the qualifying, but also avoid the dirty side of the track on the grid. When you look back through the races this season, it seems the dirty side of the track is a real disadvantage in the starts."
The 33-year-old, who has only twice started from the front two rows since China, says the expected hot weather in Budapest will inevitably help Lotus again but reiterated that achieving a competitive grid slot would be key.
"Again [in Germany] we saw that warmer temperatures suited us and we usually get hot weather in Budapest so that should be a good thing," he admitted.
"Of course, you never know until you have driven the track in this year's car. In Germany, my radio wasn't working properly and I got stuck behind the Mercedes which didn't help my race. The performance of the cars was pretty close and it's easier to overtake at the Nürburgring than it is at the Hungaroring, so we will need to qualify well."