• Malaysian Grand Prix - Qualifying

'We were in with a shout for pole today' - Raikkonen

ESPNF1 Staff
March 24, 2012 « Red Bull getting closer - Webber | Unhappy Massa confident for race »
Kimi Raikkonen set the fifth fastest time in qualifying © Getty Images
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Kimi Raikkonen thinks his Lotus was capable of securing pole position at the Malaysian Grand Prix, but admitted a couple of driver mistakes ruled him out.

Raikkonen ended up with the fifth fastest time but will drop to tenth on the grid once he serves a penalty for a gearbox change. Nevertheless, there is reason to be optimistic as his lap was just 0.242s off the pace of Lewis Hamilton on pole.

"The car was working well today," Raikkonen said. "Unfortunately, I made a couple of mistakes on my fastest lap which probably cost a couple of tenths. Without that, we were in with a shout for pole today. I got a little bit sideways at the exit of turn nine and we lost some time, but that's how it goes sometimes.

"We had some issues with KERS yesterday, but there was no repeat today; the car worked exactly as it should and it felt good. It's a shame we have a penalty on the grid but the car works well. Today was definitely a positive day. Tomorrow we start from tenth and will try to improve from there."

Lotus technical director James Allison said the car is looking strong ahead of Sunday's race.

"Looking at all the data, we should expect a strong race. We have a good handle on the tyres in these conditions. We have good set-ups which both drivers feel very happy with. Weather permitting, we should expect to have both cars in the points tomorrow."

Allison also explained the gearbox problem.

"We saw high temperatures on Kimi's gearbox in Australia after the cooler was blocked by grass and debris. It completed most of the race like this. We checked both gearboxes thoroughly and there were no concerns with Romain's gearbox. Kimi has a new 'box on his car - for which we receive a five place grid penalty - but this was necessary."