• Australian Grand Prix - Qualifying

Raikkonen explains dismal qualifying performance

ESPNF1 Staff
March 17, 2012 « Alonso still eyeing Ferrari points | Third 'a dream come true' for Grosjean »
Kimi Raikkonen: "We had plenty of speed and I just ran wide in turn 12" © Sutton Images

Kimi Raikkonen thought he would get another shot at making Q2 in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, but a mix-up in communication meant he crossed the line after the chequered flag came out.

Raikkonen will start from 18th on the grid while Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean impressed the paddock by qualifying third. Raikkonen was attempting to make it through to the second stage of qualifying without using a set of soft tyres but a mistake cost him time on what he thought would be his penultimate lap. He then slowed down to prepare the car for his final attempt but ran out of time in doing so.

"We had plenty of speed and I just ran wide in turn 12 and we were supposed to have one more lap and that's why I slowed down. Probably if I'd just kept going we would have been fast enough to go through. I was supposed to have one more lap and I was just speeding up through the last corner when the red lights came on … it was close but I just missed my last lap."

Asked who should have warned him that he was running out of time, Raikkonen said: "Probably the people on the pit wall, but for some reason we didn't notice it. It's many things that have gone slightly wrong and we've ended up in the situation [we're in]. There's no point to blame anyone. What's happened has happened and we just have to do the best job with the situation."

And he thinks he could have qualified alongside team-mate Grosjean had he made it through to Q3.

"I don't see why not. We didn't have any proper laps in the morning or yesterday but the feeling was that the car was good. I don't know why the lap wasn't very good, I'm sure that we should have been quite easily in the top ten."

Raikkonen lost out on some Friday practice time when he decided he did not like the feel of a new power steering system on the E20 and asked his team to swap it for the original system. But the Finn said the steering had nothing to do with the result on Saturday.

"It's not as perfect as it should be but it's the same as it was in testing so it doesn't really affect me," he added. "That's not reason we didn't go through, purely the reason was what I told you. I had an issue with the seat being in the wrong position, but we've fixed all those things. There's nothing wrong."