Kimi Raikkonen has warned Ferrari that they need to start winning again - and fast - if he is to have any chance at all of retaining his hard-fought F1 World Drivers' Championship crown come season's end.

The Scuderia has endured a torrid middle part of the 2008 campaign, triumphing just once to McLaren-Mercedes' three victories from the past five races, as the Silver Arrows have stolen a significant march over their scarlet competitors.

What's more, McLaren's current superiority has enabled Lewis Hamilton to vault past both Raikkonen and team-mate Felipe Massa to the top of the title standings, and with the Briton beginning this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix from pole position - his fourth of the year - he looks well-placed to extend the four-point advantage he holds over Massa and seven over Raikkonen yet further.

"McLaren have been very fast in the last few races and we haven't been doing so well," admitted the Finn - who has now gone a whole six grands prix without winning - speaking to British newspaper The Sun. "There are many races still to go, but it won't be easy to catch up - especially if we don't start winning."

"I made a mistake on my final flying lap which cost me precious time," he added, turning his attentions back to qualifying in Budapest, "and that followed on from not having got a great lap on my previous attempt, which explains why I'm sixth. Of course I am not happy and, starting from the third row, my race will be an uphill struggle.

"I will try and make the most of this situation, given that the car today was not that bad. We are going through a bit of a difficult time, but we mustn't give up - all we need to do is put together all the pieces of the jigsaw and then the results will come to us again."

Whilst Raikkonen will have to begin the race around a circuit on which it is notoriously difficult to overtake from the dirty side of the grid back on row three, Massa fared somewhat better in placing third - and afterwards the Brazilian insisted Ferrari still had a good chance of turning the tables on their Woking rivals on race day.

"It's a shame I didn't manage to get the best out of the car in Q3, mainly because of traffic, especially on my second run," rued the 27-year-old, who missed out on a front row slot by just five hundredths of a second.

"In the first two parts of qualifying the car felt good, as can be seen from my times, but then I never managed to prepare the tyres in the best way. Clearly, overtaking isn't easy, but we have good pace and I will try and exploit that in fighting with the two drivers ahead of me on the grid."

Those sentiments were echoed by both Maranello's team principal Stefano Domenicali and technical director Luca Baldisserri, who nevertheless confessed to their disappointment at once again in recent weeks having come off markedly second best.

"Obviously, we cannot be happy with this result," acknowledged Domenicali, "especially when our main opponents have the front row to themselves. Our main aim this weekend was and still is to get the most out of our car-tyre-team package, and today we failed to do that, especially in the final part of qualifying.

"Now we have to try and do it in tomorrow's race. It will be tough because our grid positions are not the best and we are up against very strong opposition, but it is not an impossible task. We have strong potential which we saw today; it will be a case of getting all the elements to come together as well as possible."

"Having our main rival's two cars on the front row is definitely not the most promising start for the race," concurred Baldisserri, "but it in no way means the race is already lost for us. Tomorrow it will be important to make a good start - trying in Felipe's case to take advantage of starting on the more rubbered-in side of the track - and to manage tyre performance as well as possible, given that we can expect very high temperatures.

"On top of that come the usual parameters - strategy, reliability, team work - that have to operate at their best in order to get a good result. We have to try our hardest to bring home as many points as possible, and only at the end of the race will we see if we have done enough or not."


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