SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (AFP) –
As Kimi Raikkonen prepared himself for this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, he was convinced that he is a genuine contender to become the 2012 world champion.
Despite not having won a race for Lotus this year, the Finn has finished on the podium on five occasions and lies fifth in the title race, just 49 points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari.
In addition, the 32-year-old finished just a second behind Hungarian Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton of McLaren last time out and with four Belgian Grand prix wins under his belt, is considered by many as the favourite to win at Spa on Sunday.
Raikkkonen admitted Alonso was still the title favourite, but said he had as good a chance as anybody of overhauling the Spaniard.
“I have almost as good a chance as anybody else,” he said.
“I don’t see that I have any better chance and I probably have the worst chance from the five guys.
“But apart from Alonso the rest are pretty close to each other and there are also many points to be won.”
Raikkonen played down the significance of his success at the high-speed Spa circuit and underlined the importance of driving consistently over the remaining nine races.
“It’s not any more special than other places,” he said.
“It’s a nice race circuit and usually it produces nice racing but I know this circuit as well as any other circuits, I haven’t really raced here more than any others.
“It just has been pretty good for us, but I have had some bad races also. It’s not like I come here and suddenly I should be good. It can be a disaster.
“Nobody knows what will happen between now and the end of the year – there are many points still on the table and any of us only needs to have a bad race and it’s going drop you out of a few positions.
“Every race is important, but until we don’t have any chance then we’ll keep pushing. There are nine races left and after these back-to-backs (at Spa and Monza) there are still seven, so there are a lot of points to lose easily if you have some problems.”