Kimi Raikkonen believes Ferrari has the pace to get closer to Mercedes going forward after a bruising Australian Grand Prix that prevented him from harnessing the pace of his car.

The Finn was left playing catch up after being clipped by Carlos Sainz at the first corner - which in turn caused him to make contact with the Sauber of Felipe Nasr alongside him -, an incident which left him with damage to the floor and the front-wing.

Despite this, Raikkonen worked his way up to fifth place and was poised to go in pursuit of Felipe Massa ahead when he was forced to retire immediately after his second pit stop due to a problem with the left-rear wheel.

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"It is disappointing not to finish," he said. "Without the issues and damage we had in the car, we could have caught up with the Williams after the pit-stop.

"We had the speed for a podium, even with the issues we went through after the start, we could still challenge the Williams at the end of the race, but it didn't happen. Too many things didn't go our way today."

Despite the early exit, Raikkonen was otherwise pleased with his race pace in Melbourne, going as far to say that Ferrari isn't as far from Mercedes at it looks.

"I'm not very happy right now, but I still believe in the race we are not too far away from Mercedes. Obviously it depends on the race and what they do, we just had too many things not go our way today.

"I am sure we can be up there and fight at the front, so obviously we need to improve in qualifying as they are ahead of us by some margin."