Kimi Raikkonen: “This first row is great for the team”

Kimi Raikkonen will start on the front row on Sunday - Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen secured his best qualifying position of the season so far on Saturday when he took second place on the grid for the Russian Grand Prix, but a mistake on his final flying lap perhaps denied him pole position.

The Finn was 0.059 seconds slower than Scuderia Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel but he was unable to improve on his lap time as the session drew to a close, and although happy to be on the front row, he would have preferred to have taken his first pole position since the 2008 French Grand Prix.

Raikkonen is hoping for a good start on Sunday as he aims for his first podium finish of 2017, and he knows it should be a close fight between his Ferrari team and the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team.

“Generally, it has been a very straightforward weekend: we have been happier with the car, set-up wise, since the beginning and when you start well it’s easier to work and improve here and there,” said Raikkonen.

“This first row is great for the team, obviously I would rather be in front, but this is not an easy track to get a good lap. I’m happy to take second place, it’s a lot better that it has been so far this year.

“It’s good but it’s only qualifying, tomorrow is the day where we get points, and we have to do a good job out of it. I expect us to be ok; for sure it’s going to be a close fight. Hopefully we can make a good start and see what happens.”