Kimi Raikkonen admitted he headed into qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix on the back foot after crashing during Saturday morning’s final practice session.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver lost control at the Degner Curves, causing significant damage to his SF70H, and a five-place penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change further punished the Finn.
Ultimately he was only able to claim the sixth fastest time in qualifying, which will translate into a tenth place starting spot, thanks to Fernando Alonso also having a penalty for an engine change, but Raikkonen feels he will have a strong race car on Sunday in order to move forward.
“It was not a great start of the day to go off track this morning in P3, not the ideal preparation for qualifying,” said Raikkonen. “After that, everything got more difficult, but the team did a great job to get the car back in one piece.
“In Qualifying the car felt ok, but it was a bit tricky; the biggest issue was the limited running we had had with new tyres in the morning. In Q3, when I really had to push, I made a mistake in the first run and I had a pretty average lap time in the second one. Now I pay the price of my mistake.
“After my crash, we’ve got a five places penalty for replacing the gearbox. This obviously complicates our race even more. Tomorrow it’s not going to be easy, but I think that we have a good car for the race.”