Dirty tarmac may impact start, fears Raikkonen

© XPB 

Kimi Raikkonen clinched P6 in Saturday's qualifying session in Sepang , a mere 5 hundreds of a second behind Ferrari team mate Sebastian Vettel.

Both Ferrari drivers showed consistent pace throughout the hour long session but fell short of tacking their direct Mercedes and Red Bull rivals.

"It was just a bit tricky on the first lap in Q1, the first lap in Q2 was pretty OK, but it was a bit difficult to get the tyres to work there," explained the Finn.

"Apart from that I had quite a smooth running.  The handling of the car has been pretty OK, obviously I was hoping for a bit more.

"But tomorrow is another day. We haven’t even done one start on this new surface, so we’ll see tomorrow how it is."

Raikkonen was under no illusion about the performance gap which still remains between the Scuderia and the all-conquering Silver Arrows.

"We’ve seen before that we can get close to them in Q1, and then whatever they do they seem to suddenly go faster in the end of qualifying.

"Maybe they have something, they change some settings or something. Like I said we didn’t have a great ending of qualifying. We’re still behind them, we’ve seen that in the past races or in most of the year, they’ve been very strong.  Sometimes we’re a bit closer to Mercedes, sometimes a bit further away."

Like those who will line up on the right side of the track tomorrow, Raikkonen is worried that his start may be potentially impacted by the cement dust dropped on the tarmac after  a support race.

"I don’t know exactly where the start is and obviously if they can clean it properly. They’ll probably try to clean it more.

"There will be some more races tomorrow before ours’, so I don’t think it will suddenly change the whole picture. Maybe it is worse, maybe not, but it’s not possible to know.

"It looks bad but it’s hard to say if it really changes the grip. I think it looks worse than it is, but we’ll see tomorrow.

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