Kimi Raikkonen has revealed that problems getting his Bridgestone tyres up to temperature were to blame for his failure to perform at the Italian Grand Prix last weekend.

Raikkonen, who started 14th at Monza, eventually finished in ninth place in his Ferrari F2008, the third race in succession he has failed to score in - and a situation that does little to help him in his bid to defend his crown.

Indeed the Finn now lies only fourth in the drivers' championship with 57 points, 21 points less than current leader Lewis Hamilton - and 20 less than his team-mate Felipe Massa.

Despite being firmly on the back-foot though, Kimi insists that he hasn't given up, especially as mathematically he can still make up the difference with four races to go and 40 points up for grabs.

"This was a very difficult race for us," he reflected. "In the conditions at the start, as we have seen before in the past, we could not keep our tyres up to temperature and we totally lacked grip.

"I could do nothing but try to stay on the track hoping the conditions would change. When they did, unfortunately it was too late to aim for a points finish.

"The car worked well but without grip, you're not going anywhere. The situation in the Drivers' championship is now even more difficult, but I will continue to give it my best shot as usual."

Ferrari technical director Luca Baldisserri meanwhile agreed that the problem with the tyres was crucial: "Our race was conditioned in a very obvious way by the performance of the tyres. At the start, when it was still raining, we could not get them to the right operating temperature and we were too slow compared to our rivals," he continued.

"Then, all it took was for the track to dry a bit for the car to be pretty much transformed, as can be seen from Kimi's lap times in the final stages of the race. We must put some more effort into understanding how to improve our performance in these conditions, which could reoccur in the final stage of the championship."

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underperformer of the year - period