Raikkonen praises Spa, but not his qualifying efforts

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Kimi Raikkonen and Spa-Francorchamps enjoy a solid, healthy relationship. The Finn’s won there four times – most recently in 2009 over Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella – but knows he and the team need to make strides on Saturday in order to have a chance at next weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

“Obviously I keep making my life difficult on Saturdays in qualifying so then we pay a price, but we still have a good car in the race,” Raikkonen said in the Lotus’ team’s weekend advance. “So much depends on the qualifying result, so we need to find a decent set-up on Friday and Saturday and have a solid qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. I don’t know how it will suit our car this year. Last year we were not very strong there. I think we know the reasons and for sure our car is better this year, but is it good enough to be fighting for a win? We will see on Sunday.”

Additionally, the Lotus team has yet to make a decision on whether to use its “double DRS” or Drag Reduction Device this race, according to F1 Fanatic and trackside operations director Alan Permane. It understandably aids the car on long straights but hinders in the corners in the fight for mechanical grip.

Still, Raikkonen’s one of the most experienced at Spa and praises the challenge it presents, especially in an era of watered-down, sanitized circuits that have popped up with increased frequency on the Formula One calendar.

“For me there have only been good memories from Spa and it’s great to go racing there,” he said. “You can’t get the same kind of a feeling anywhere else. It’s great to race with a modern racing car at a proper circuit which has such a great tradition. I bet every driver likes Spa. For me it is the greatest racing circuit in the world. It is my favorite place. I have liked the place since my first ever visit there in 2000 with Formula Renault.”

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”