Kimi Raikkonen says it is difficult to judge Ferrari's true pace against Mercedes as it hasn't had a clean race as yet, even if he admits Nico Rosberg fully deserves to have established an early lead in the standings.

The Finn sits fifth in the overall standings after a DNF in Australia, a second place in Bahrain and a fight-back to fifth place in China following turn one damage, while Rosberg has moved well clear in the standings with three consecutive race wins.

Indeed, Raikkonen is impressed with the efforts of Rosberg so far this year but he feels Ferrari is closer to Mercedes than it has been able to show because it has endured compromised races on each occasion. With this in mind, Raikkonen is confident Ferrari will have a car that is faster than Mercedes this year at some races.

Related Articles

"We just have to start making the most points that we can and not having issues in any race, to try and put ourselves in front of him. I think speed wise we were not too bad, even if I'm not 100 per cent happy. Yesterday in qualifying there was the speed to be at least very close to him, without the mistakes, so I think at least here we seemed to be closer.

"When you don't have clean races and he's getting them it's difficult to beat them. There will be circuits where we'll be stronger than here and some where they'll probably be stronger against us.

"The main idea is to improve the car, the whole package and I'm sure we can have very strong races this year and win races. We have to clean things up and if you keep having issues you don't have much hope in the championship.

"He's won three races, it's not ideal - ideal for him but not for the others... - but he deserves it. We just have to do a better job now."