Kimi Raikkonen's chances of closing the gap to Sebastian Vettel atop the F1 2013 standings were dealt a blow as he struggled to ninth place in qualifying for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
The 2007 world champion hasn't won since the first race of the year in Melbourne, and has been gradually falling away from the pace as Lotus struggles to keep up with rivals Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari.
Despite this, Lotus' struggles relative to their rivals in qualifying have been evident since the start of 2013, and the Finn saw reasons for optimism whilst conceding that qualifying had been difficult.
“It was a close qualifying session between both of the team's cars so I think we both got pretty much all there was from the car today. It's not ideal as we'd like to be nearer the front of the grid, but it is what it is,” said Kimi.
“We'll go into the race wanting to get a better result than we did in qualifying. Usually this is what happens for us and hopefully that is the case again tomorrow.”
Raikkonen's team-mate Romain Grosjean meanwhile qualified one place higher in eighth, and said he was satisfied with his prospects, having shown good form in last year's event with a stunning comeback drive to sixth after early problems.
“Whilst we were very quick on the hard tyres at the beginning of qualifying, we weren't as competitive on the mediums, I don't know if it's the weather or something else, but we weren't as good on them as in free practice this morning meaning we didn't have enough to qualify further up the grid,” he added.
“We are working hard and in the right direction, but the tyres are still playing a key part. I'm quite satisfied with my performance today.”
by Philip Barclay