Kimi - We'll be very competitive

World Champion says Ferrari have "improved in many areas"

Kimi Raikkonen has predicted that both he and Ferrari will be "very competitive" at this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix.

Although the defending World Champion won on the streets of Monte Carlo for McLaren Mercedes in 2005, the Scuderia have not tasted victory there since Michael Schumacher took the chequered flag four years previously.

Raikkonen's first Monaco GP for Ferrari brought arguably his worst performance of the 2007 season, the Finn crashing in qualifying and only managing eighth place in the race.

McLaren scored a one-two finish last year, their MP4-22 chassis proving more adept around the tight bends and over the bumps of the 2.075-mile track than Ferrari's F2007.


Nevertheless, according to Raikkonen, Ferrari have worked on such deficiencies and also enjoyed a productive test session last week in preparation for the race at the Paul Ricard circuit.

"Obviously, we struggled last year in Monaco, but I feel Ferrari have really improved in many areas that we were weaker at last year," the Finn wrote on his website.

"I always aim to win and that's my intention going into the Monaco weekend.

"The race will be very open. I feel Ferrari is very competitive with the main competition coming from McLaren and BMW.

"That said, Monaco can throw up a strange result so it's the most open of all the races this year."

Qualifying vital

Raikkonen also said that, with overtaking almost impossible at Monaco, Saturday's qualifying session will be of vital importance.

He added: "With everybody being so close - especially in qualifying - it's important to have a good weekend, so that you are able to fine tune the car to the circuit.

"To qualify well is always important, but, probably, in Monaco it's a priority."

After scoring victories in Malaysia and Spain, Raikkonen currently leads the Drivers' Championship by seven points from team-mate Felipe Massa and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.