Raikkonen: I made a mistake but for sure we can do better than 18th
17 March, 2012
Mar.17 (PVM) Kimi Raikkonen blighted his Melbourne qualifying session, his first since his return to F1, by making a mistake which saw him fail to make it beyond Q1 – but the Finn put up his hand to take blame for the incident which will see him start ninth on the grid for the season opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
Raikkonen botched his final run on Pirelli medium tyres and narrowly missed out on doing another lap as the session’s time was up as he crossed the line at the very end of Q1.
Raikkonen explained, “Today didn’t go quite as planned. There’s no issue with the car, I made a mistake and there was a communication issue so the timing wasn’t right to get [in] another lap. It cost us a good qualifying position but that’s how it goes sometimes.”
“We should have easily been in Q2. It’s not the best start but we’ll try to put it right in the race. There’s plenty of speed in the car. The steering was fine. It’s not perfect for exactly what I want but it doesn’t affect my driving. For sure we can do better than 18th tomorrow so we’ll have to see what happens,” added The Iceman who will be starting his 157th grand prix on Sunday, returning to the grid after a two year spell where he delved in rally and NASCAR.
Raikkonen’s less experienced team mate Romain Grosjean, who was also making his return to F1 after a two year sojourn qualified third and showed the potential of the Lotus E20.
The team’s director of trackside operations, Alan Permane said, “Things didn’t go quite right for Kimi; he was running late to the programme and he made a couple of mistakes, otherwise he would have been comfortably in a strong position. we’ll have to see if there’s anything clever we can do to help him move up the order. He’s clearly qualified out of position, but he has the advantage of three sets of new soft tyres which will help him.”
Good news for Raikkonen, who won the 2007 Australian GP, is that he will have an extra set of soft tyres at his disposal for the race…