Kimi Raikkonen has blamed traffic for slowing up his final qualifying lap during the pole position battle at the Bahrain Grand Prix by losing out to Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel by less than one-tenth of a second.

Raikkonen had held provisional pole position after the opening runs in Q3, having previously displayed impressive pace by topping the second and third free practice session in Bahrain. The Finnish driver lined up as the last of the pole position contenders to complete his final qualifying lap but failed to beat Vettel’s 1m 27.958s by just 0.063s which left him second on the grid.

Despite helping Ferrari secured its first front row lockout in Bahrain since 2006, Raikkonen was left deflated having missed out on his first pole position since last year’s Monaco Grand Prix and blames the cars ahead of him on traffic for his imperfect place.

“It was far from ideal with the traffic on the last lap,” Raikkonen said. “I thought there was a lot we could improve, but it was a messy think, in the end. It’s disappointing, because it has been pretty okay for most of the weekend, you always want more.”

Having lined up second on the grid at the 2018 F1 opener while Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position in Australia, Raikkonen is aiming to go one better after failing to get past his front row rival two weeks ago.

“I don’t think it’s any different,” he said. “It’s just another car, we’re never side by side on the start because we’re second. Basically we’ll be in the same position but with another car compared to the previous time. It makes no difference.

“It’s a new car, there are certain new designs on it, it could be good or not, but there’s not one particular thing that suddenly made it better for me than in the other years.”


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