Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen has blamed balance problems after he was only to set the ninth quickest time in qualifying for this Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Finn had been quickest on Friday and was also on the pace this morning too, setting the fourth best time in final practice.

However when he came to qualifying, he was unable to reproduce that form, and in the end only a late effort got him through to Q3.

He will now line-up eighth on the grid, gaining a place after Lewis Hamilton's five-place penalty for a gearbox change.

"It wasn't the easiest qualifying session after a weekend which hasn't been the easiest so far either," said Raikkonen. "Yesterday it was difficult at times to find the balance with the car and I found that again today.

"This morning it felt good and we didn't do too bad in free practice, but we didn't quite get it right this afternoon. My lap wasn't great, but it's a long race so we'll just have to see what we can do tomorrow."

Lotus trackside operations director, Alan Permane admitted that the team wasn't exactly sure why the Finn had struggled.

"Kimi's session was a bit of a mystery. His second run in Q2 was pretty respectable but it just didn't come together for him in Q3. He's been strong all weekend up until that point, so we'll need to trawl through the data this evening to understand what happened," Permane added.

Meanwhile, Romain Grosjean went out in Q2 in the sister E21 - 0.060 seconds on the wrong side of the cut-off. He will start eleventh, but still reckons he can get a good result.

"It's obviously disappointing to miss out on Q3 but it's just one of those things," stated the Frenchman. "There weren't any issues with the car, we just tried to be a little too brave by doing just one run and unfortunately it didn't pay off.

"On the positive side, we've found a lot of performance this weekend compared to the first three races and our pace on the prime tyres in Q1 looked very strong."

"We qualified in similar positions last year and came away with a double podium, so it's still all to play for," he concluded.