Kimi Raikkonen has taken a five-place grid penalty following repairs to his car after a crash in FP3 which sees the Finnish driver start a frustrating P10 which he fears will mean a struggle to reach the front-runners at Suzuka.

Ferrari has endured a tricky last three races, with Raikkonen in particular suffering a lap one DNF in Singapore and a front row DNS in Malaysia despite generally strong qualifying performances. Relegated to the fifth row to start in Suzuka Raikkonen says grid penalties are costly for a mistake in free practice.

“It was my mistake and I paid quite a hefty price for it with the penalty and, obviously, with a far from ideal preparation for qualifying,” Raikkonen said. “But that’s how it goes.”

Compared to two strong qualifying performances in Singapore and Malaysia, even without the penalty Raikkonen only achieved P6, which he blamed on uncertainty around the tyres, as well as his own mistakes.

Compromised running meant that he lacked confidence in the car, "The first run was far from ideal and in the second I wasn’t really sure how much grip there would be, because I didn’t have a great feeling in the first run."

Raikkonen said the wet FP2 plus damp FP3 and qualifying meant that it will be difficult to prepare for tomorrow's race which is expected to be run in dry conditions, especially at a track with such high tyre degradation in fast corners.

“I think the biggest issue was the very limited running we had because of the issue this morning,” he said. “In places like this where everything has got to be right for you to go fast, especially in the first sector, you pay a big price.”

 

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