Kimi Räikkönen Felt Third Was ‘Possible’ If Qualifying Error Didn’t Occur

by Aaron Gillard
Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari - Japan - Qualifying

Kimi Räikkönen says it’s a pity to not capture third place in Qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, as Scuderia Ferrari makes another costly strategic error.

Both Räikkönen and team-mate Sebastian Vettel took Ferrari’s gamble on intermediate tyres at the beginning of Qualifying 3, predicting an early shower for the session. The rain didn’t arrive as the Italian team had predicted, leaving them late in setting a lap.

By the team Ferrari were able to set a lap, the rain started to arrive leaving both cars fighting on an changing track. The Finn was able to set a time to go fourth fastest behind Max Verstappen but couldn’t improve on his second lap after a mistake at the Spoon curve.

Räikkönen said that the team thought the rain was going to come at the end of the session, but the timing was wrong leaving them with work to do for the race.

“It was a tricky qualifying with mixed conditions,” said Räikkönen. “In Q3 we thought that the rain would come earlier, so we decided to go out on Intermediate tires.

“Unfortunately it did not happen and then we were a bit off with the timing. We came in to fit the Supersoft , but in turn 14 I touched a wet kerb, ran a bit wide and lost some time.

The Finn says that third place could have been possible but the mistake compromised him, stating that Sunday will be ‘tricky’.

“Obviously fourth place is not ideal, but at least we were able to put a lap together despite the mistake,” Räikkönen commented.

“Third position could have been easily possible. It’s a pity we did not get it today; the feeling with the car was getting better and better in qualifying.

“For sure tomorrow is going to be tricky, but we will do our best”.

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