Kimi Raikkonen thinks that he could ‘easily’ have got through to Q3 today in Bahrain with another Q2 run, but his Lotus team instead decided to take the risk of doing just one flying lap and saving a set of tyres for race day.
That risk obviously did not pay off in terms of qualifying position, with the Finn starting tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix from eleventh place. However, there are still hopes that this strategy will bear fruit in the race.
“We had the speed today and we could easily have gone through to the final session with another run, but we thought it was worth taking the risk to only do one lap in Q2 and save fresh sets of tyres for the race,” explained Raikkonen. “Managing the tyres will be a priority tomorrow, so while it was a gamble that didn't get us through to the final session it will hopefully be a strategy which pays off in the race.
“We knew it was going to be close and of course we always want to be as high up the grid as possible, but there were two options and we went for the one which we believe will deliver the best result on Sunday. There are no points given out on Saturday, so let's see what happens tomorrow.”
Team-mate Romain Grosjean did better though, getting through to Q3 and eventually qualifying seventh.
“It was a good result for the team,” said the Frenchman. “We've now got through to Q3 at every race weekend this season and that's always satisfying. I think we can be pleased with how the car is working. If I hadn't made a small mistake on my flying lap we could maybe be even further up the order.
“It's a big contrast here to the conditions we saw in China, and I think we can be proud of how well we've adapted to that change as it makes finding the right setup a big challenge. Today we were maybe a bit further behind the leaders than we'd like, but our race pace looks good and it's another close grid so tomorrow should be very interesting.”