Kimi Räikkönen put down his inability to compete with Mercedes in Baku qualifying down to inconsistent performance from his Ferrari’s tyres, and that third was the best he could have managed.
The Finn was the best non-Mercedes in the field, going 1.1 seconds slower than polesitter Lewis Hamilton on his way to a second-row Ferrari lockout, with team-mate Sebastian Vettel lining up in fourth for the race tomorrow.
He explained the operating window of the supersoft Pirelli tyres was inconsistent, and this left him constantly chasing the fastest time possible throughout the session.
“The whole weekend has been about making the tyres work well and today we struggled a bit more than yesterday,” he explained. “If you can get them working 100% on one lap you can easily go a lot faster, but it was not the case today. When we were able to switch the tyres on, the car felt nice, but this feeling kept changing from lap to lap and from set to set.
“I did not feel comfortable going into the first corner and could not push so hard. It was easy to slide or make a small mistake. It was always on the edge of working and not working, but on the last lap it felt a bit better.”
Despite being so far off the pace of the lead Mercedes duo, Räikkönen was satisfied with the end result, and suggested the large disparity between the two teams would be smaller come raceday.
“Third place is obviously not a disaster, I take it happily. I think we did the best we could achieve today. In the race, with more laps, the tyres should start working better. I’m positive that we are going to be a lot closer to our competitors”.