Podiums are nice, but Raikkonen knows he has to start getting to the top of them. (LAT photo)
Kimi Raikkonen says he cannot afford to lose any more ground to his rivals this season if he is to have any chancwe of contending for the World Championship.
The Lotus driver heads to next weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, an event he has won four times, as one of the favorites for a win that would put him right in the title hunt. Raikkonen himself is not ruling out a full-on championship tilt but is equally aware that he cannot afford to lose any further ground to his rivals – especially since he is 48 points adrift of current points leader Fernando Alonso.
"I am now fifth in the championship and obviously aiming at getting more points than the guys in front of me," he said on Friday. "The smaller the gap to the leaders is, the better for me and for the team.
"Every race from here on is very important. The whole team is pushing 100 percent and we need to beat our rivals and take more points than they do every time."
Raikkonen does not feel that his impressive record at Spa gives him any advantage this time out, although it does mean he can head there assured of his competitiveness around the legendary venue.
"Usually I've achieved good results at the Belgian Grand Prix, but what's happened before doesn't help me right now," he explained. "Saying that doesn't do any harm, either! Obviously it would be great to win at Spa for a fifth time. I haven't won during the first part of the season and the extra points are always good."
Although Lotus has seen good opportunities to win this season slip through its fingers, Raikkonen says the team is not disheartened but rather is fired up to keep pushing until the end.
"We always try to win; some days you get close to it and it's a bit disappointing that we haven't quite made that final step," he said. "We know the reason, though – we've not been so strong in qualifying as we have in the race, which makes life harder for ourselves on Sundays.
"Of course we would rather win than come second or third but it's a long season and I think we're improving all the time. If it comes then great, if not we'll keep trying.
"I've been in the business long enough that I don't really worry about things too much. We've been improving our position in the championships – both for myself and for the team – so as long as we keep doing that, hopefully the win will come."