• European Grand Prix - Qualifying

Raikkonen hoping Lotus' tyre advantage pays off

ESPN Staff
June 23, 2012 « 'I'm not fast enough' - Alonso | Frustrated Button pessimistic over race chances »
Kimi Raikkonen: "One tenth quicker and we would have been second" © Sutton Images
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Kimi Raikkonen is hoping the combination of his fifth place grid position and his Lotus's race pace will see him score a strong result at the European Grand Prix on Sunday.

After struggling in qualifying at the last two races, Raikkonen will line up fifth on the grid at tomorrow's race behind team-mate Romain Grosjean, who managed to take a podium in Canada after making his tyres last on a one-stop strategy. Raikkonen is hoping he will be able to score a good result this weekend in a similar manner.

"At least it's one of the best qualifying results for us of the year," he said. "One tenth quicker and we would have been second but it was very close here. Fifth is enough and although it's not easy to overtake, if someone runs out of the tyres then you can have a good chance. Obviously our car is a bit better than the rest in that department."

But Raikkonen said strategy is more straightforward in Valencia and he is expecting most drivers to adopt a two-stop strategy.

"I think it will be more normal here than it was in Canada," he said. "In Canada you had two choices - to keep running or not - but here you will probably be forced to do two stops. Maybe some people will try to do one or a three stop, but it's not like it was in Canada when you had more options."

He said changes to the car had helped his qualifying pace this weekend.

"The steering is more or less the same, it's not like a sudden difference, it's just small details that improve. We just found today some settings that made the car a bit nicer to drive in certain places and we are going in the right direction with it. It's more easy in the qualifying and for us the struggle has been to get one lap. In the race it's usually okay, but if you start from tenth it's always going to make your life more difficult."