Kimi Raikkonen has admitted that he has made life difficult for himself after a qualifying error in Monaco allowed his three title rivals to pull further ahead in the world championship race.

The Finn salvaged eighth after not making it through the second part of qualifying in the Principality but, with McLaren taking a 1-2 result ahead of Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa, he now lies 15 points off the joint lead held by Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, with Massa ten points clear in third. With just five of the year's 17 rounds gone, however, Raikkonen insists that all is not lost - provided that he turns his fortunes around.

"Obviously, the increased gap to the head of the classification makes life more difficult, but this is still the first part of the championship," he reflected, "I will give it my all to close the gap and will fight right to the end.

"There are four drivers who, barring any unexpected surprises, have an equal chance of winning a grand prix, and this situation can help me close up a bit, on the understanding that I start winning again. I hope everything will finally start going my way right from the next race."

Raikkonen made no effort to disguise the fact that his Monaco GP was compromised by driver error, and regretted the fact that it prevented him from taking the fight to McLaren in a car he was happier with after testing.

"We knew McLaren would be strong in Monaco, but we also knew we had a strong pace and it would have been nice to see that in a straight fight," he sighed, "I had great expectations for the race, my first in the Principality in a Ferrari.

"The car was fine from the start of the weekend, as it had been at the Le Castellet test the week before, and I felt that, maybe for the first time this year, I could have got the most out of the F2007. But everything was decided in qualifying.

"In the second session, I had gone out to do a time on the super-softs and, coming out of the Swimming Pool chicane, I touched the barrier with the front right wheel. It was not a hard knock, but it was enough to snap the steering arm and bend the lower suspension. In the past, I have made harder contact with the guard rail and suffered no damage but, unfortunately, this time, there was nothing to be done, despite all the efforts of the team.

"It would have been too risky to go back out on track without being sure that everything had been put right. It was my mistake and there's not much to say about it. There's no point making a drama of it because these things happen in racing. It's no use crying over spilt milk."

Although he made up some places at the start, and more courtesy of a one-stop strategy and retirements ahead of him, Raikkonen fell foul of Monaco's traditional traffic problem which, even in a superior car, he was unable to do anything about.

"When you start from 16th, there's not much else in prospect," he grimaced, "The only positive moment was at the start, when I got past four cars. Considering my fuel load, if I had done the same thing from slightly higher up the grid, it would have been exceptional, but unfortunately all it did was make a difficult position slightly better.

"From then on, I was always in traffic. There was not one lap in which I was able to push as hard as I wanted to - and could have done - so I don't really have a clear idea of what my race pace could have been. It's annoying to be always stuck behind a slower car and not be able to do anything to improve the situation, but at least I managed to bring home a point, which is better than nothing."



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