|© AP Photo/Wong Maye-E
Kimi Raikkonen is determined to race in Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix despite his own team expressing doubts due to a back injury which badly affected the Lotus driver during practice and qualifying.
Raikkonen awoke Saturday in such discomfort from his longstanding back complaint -- which flared up during Friday's practice -- that reserve driver Davide Valsecchi was put on standby.
However, Raikkonen took part in both practice and qualifying with the aid of painkillers and some physiotherapy. The Finn was clearly affected by the injury, qualifying in a lowly 13th place, seven-tenths of a second slower than teammate Romain Grosjean in the second qualifying session.
The decision to go ahead Saturday with qualifying meant it was too late to switch drivers, and Raikkonen was sure he will start the actual race.
"It's still quite painful and there wasn't much more I could do in qualifying when you take that combination of things into account," Raikkonen said.
"It's not the first time I've driven with a problem and it probably won't be the last time either, but I'll be on the grid tomorrow and we'll try to get the maximum from where we are at the start."
He left the Marina Bay circuit for medical attention immediately after qualifying, and team principal Eric Boullier said the effect of that treatment will determine his availability, regardless of the driver's optimism.
"With the pain-killing injection, he doesn't feel anything but we will have to monitor through the night and see how he feels tomorrow," Boullier said.