Such was the close competition between the top three runners in French Grand Prix qualifying that all thought they could have taken pole, with Kimi Raikkonen ruing a minor mistake on his final run that he felt had cost him top spot.

The Finn had not featured in the top three since the Spanish Grand Prix in May, and credited the work that has been put in to improving the F2007 for its return to Europe for propelling him into competition with Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa and McLaren's championship leader, Lewis Hamilton.

"It has been a bit of a hard time but that's how it is sometimes," he admitted of the previous three races, where Ferrari was off the pace, "We just try to improve the car all the time. I think we had a good test, the car feels much better now, and it seems to be more competitive.

"So far, it has been a good weekend. Of course, we would rather be in first place - the car was better and, today, I felt we could have had the pole with a perfect lap - but I think it's pretty close and we will see what happens in the race tomorrow. Before, it has not really been there, but we are gradually getting where we want to be."

Despite being third on the grid, albeit on the cleaner line, Raikkonen believes that, should his car continue to perform to his liking, he should be able to challenge for the win on Sunday.

"I lost on one corner in the last try, but that's just my fault and there's nothing else to complain about," he noted, "I think the car is pretty good for the race, so third is okay. As I said, we would rather start in the front this year but anything can happen. It's a long race so we will see what happens tomorrow. I still think you have chances to overtake and, this weekend, it has been surprisingly easier to follow people than many other races, so let's see what happens tomorrow."



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