Kimi Raikkonen could not match the pace of Scuderia Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel during Qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix, and as a result he will start from fifth on the grid on Sunday.
The Finn was three-quarters of a second behind the German in the top ten shoot-out at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, and whereas Vettel will start from pole position, Raikkonen finds himself on the third row of the grid, and he admitted it was a difficult qualifying session for him, with a lack of grip and the odd mistake costing him valuable time.
“It was a pretty difficult qualifying,” said Raikkonen, “and the result is far from ideal. I struggled to put a decent lap together, I was lacking grip and made mistakes here and there.
“In some moments it felt good, in others not so, it was very easy to make a mistake. Every time I tried to push a bit more the front end seemed to lock up, especially in the last sector.
“In Q3 I only tried to get a lap time without any big issues, to be able to get somewhere, but I knew I was slow.”
Raikkonen is hopeful to make a good start and move up on Sunday from his third row grid slot, and he hopes to stay out of trouble to secure a strong result for Ferrari, and perhaps his sixth podium of the season.
“Tomorrow is another day, I’m sure it will be better,” said Raikkonen. “It’s hard to predict what will happen, but as long as we get a good feeling and the tyres are working well we should be ok.
“Hopefully we’ll make a good start and then see what happens in the straight and in the first corner. We’ll try to stay out of trouble and be in a strong position after that.”