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Raikkonen 'pushed a little too hard' in Q3
6 October 2012
Kimi Raikkonen was in his usual taciturn frame of mind when he was asked what had happened at the end of the final round of qualifying for the 2012 F1 Grand Prix of Japan.
"I spun," he said simply, of the incident at Spoon that brought out waved yellow fags at a critical point of Q3 and meant several drivers had to lift out of their final flying lap attempts at Suzuka.
"I was on a good lap and I was pushing - maybe a little too hard," he admitted when pressed. "Lost the rear," he added.
"It's a shame as the car feels the best it has all weekend," he continued. "If the car's good tomorrow we should be able to move forwards. Let's see what happens.”
Raikkonen didn't have a chance to try another flying lap after his spin and duly ended up in eighth place on the timesheets in Q3, although he'll be boosted up a position thanks to a gearbox penalty for Jenson Button. The two drivers will start alongside each other on the fourth row of the grid.
Meanwhile Raikkonen's team mate Romain Grosjean finds himself promoted onto the second row as a result of Button's five-place drop, and will start Sunday's Grand Prix from fourth place alongside Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi.
"We knew it would be very tight in qualifying and I think we could maybe have been one place higher with a cleaner run through the first sector, but the leaders were too quick today," he said after the end of the session.
"We're lacking a little bit of downforce at the moment, but with a few minor adjustments overnight and the right strategy I think we can take home a good haul of points tomorrow," he added.
"We had the pace to get both cars further up the grid," agreed Alan Permane, the trackside operations director for Lotus. "But overall, it's been a reasonable weekend so far.
“We're comfortable with the E20's performance on a full fuel load and over long runs so we're looking forward to the race and hopeful that we can gain positions from where we start," Permane added. "Suzuka is pretty demanding on the tyres and we have shown well in this area previously, so there's certainly potential."
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