Kimi Raikkonen felt he had the pace in his car to take pole position at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday but was forced to settle for third after understeer in the final sector cost him the few tenths of a second that separated him from top spot.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver, a Spa specialist with four victories at the legendary circuit, was 0.166 seconds behind pole sitter Nico Rosberg, but the understeer moment at the end of the lap also saw him fall behind Max Verstappen.
Although disappointed not to take pole position, Raikkonen was relatively happy to be close to the outright pace, and hopes the decision to start the race on the Soft Pirelli compound will be the right one on Sunday where hot conditions are once again expected.
“So far it has been a decent weekend, the car was behaving well today and we had the speed,” said Raikkonen. “My first run in Q3 was very good, but I went sideways and off track.
“The second attempt was even better, but in the last chicane I had some slight understeer and lost a few tenths compared to my Q2 sector. Today I felt we had the chance to get pole position, so I’m a bit disappointed, my lap time was not good enough.
“On a positive side, we are very close compared to the last couple of races. We decided to start the race with Soft tires, if you can make them work it will make a massive difference, we’ll see how the race will pan out but I think our plan will be fine.
“We’ll do our best, of course the hot conditions won’t be easy for the tires, but it’s the same for everybody. Hopefully we’ll be up there fighting also tomorrow.”