Raikkonen ‘positively surprised’ with qualifying competitiveness

Kimi Raikkonen - Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen admitted he was positively surprised to qualify third for the Japanese Grand Prix and to be so close to the pace of the Mercedes team on Saturday.

The Scuderia Ferrari driver ended just 0.302 seconds down on the pole time of Nico Rosberg on Saturday, and the Finn gave praise to his team for improving the set-up of his SF16-H overnight, with the problems they faced on Friday significantly reduced.

Raikkonen feels confident heading into the race, and believes they have a good turn of speed that he does not expect to disappear.

“Overall the car has been behaving quite good; we had suffered from some understeer, but we have been slowly getting better with the set up and the speed and I’m positively surprised how competitive and close to the Mercedes we were,” said Raikkonen.

“Today the car was a bit less understeering, and this helped a lot in the first part of the lap. The third position is not too bad but obviously we want to be higher up. This is what we’ve got now and it’s a pity that Seb has a penalty, because the team had quite a strong session today.

“Obviously we are happy, but we still have some work to be done to improve things and we have to do another good day tomorrow. We sure have some speed and it’s not going to suddenly disappear tomorrow.

“Usually we are a bit better in the race, but we have to wait and see: it will depend on conditions and other stuff but we’ll do our best.”