Kimi Raikkonen believes that he could have followed up his fastest time in final practice with pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix had it not been for a moment of understeer at the final turn.
The Finn had surprised both Red Bull and Mercedes by putting his Ferrari at the top of times on Saurday morning and he remained in the mix for the front row even as Nico Rosberg and Mercedes ramped up their pace in the afternoon qualifying session.
RESULTS: Belgian Grand Prix – Qualifying results
The German, who had been an unusually low seventh in FP3, vaulted back to the top of the times early in Q3, but both Max Verstappen and Raikkonen appeared to have the pace to challenge the Mercedes driver as rare hot conditions at Spa-Francorchamps made preserving tyres a tricky prospect.
Verstappen fell just short of Rosberg's time, but Raikkonen had to abort his first run in Q3 as he ran wide at Stavelot and dragged his Ferrari through the gravel trap before returning to the pits. Without a time on the board, the Finn new that he had to run again and appeared to be on a better lap until he reached the Bus Stop chicane, where he confessed to a small error that eventually saw him settle for third place.
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“I ran wide on the first try and that wasn't ideal, but the second run was pretty good, although, compared to my Q2 lap, I lost a couple of tenths at the last chicane so obviously pole position was lost there,” he sighed, “It is a bit disappointing because we were close and it would have been nice to get it, but, comparing to the previous few races, we have to be satisfied although, until we are at the front, we can't be too happy.”
Revealing that he always intended to do two runs in Q3, Raikkonen admitted that his task would have been easier had he managed to complete a clean lap at the first attempt, especially with the hot conditions appearing to mitigate against improvement later on.
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“For sure, we had a chance to put it on pole and I guess it would have been more easy not going off on the first run and [getting] a decent lap time, but that's how it is.,” he conceded, “It's very hot, and it's tricky with the tyres… so it is nice to be so close, but obviously I'd rather be on pole position. I thought we had a good chance.”
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