F1

Raikkonen rues Monaco qualifying error

Raikkonen rues Monaco qualifying error

Kimi Raikkonen was left disappointed at the Monaco Grand Prix after only picking up a single point towards his championship challenge. But the Ferrari man acknowledged it was his own error that left him 16th on the grid with a very hard task...

Kimi Raikkonen was left disappointed at the Monaco Grand Prix after only picking up a single point towards his championship challenge. But the Ferrari man acknowledged it was his own error that left him 16th on the grid with a very hard task ahead of him on the Monte Carlo streets, where overtaking is a rare event.

Kimi Raikkonen, Scuderia Ferrari.
Photo by xpb.cc.

"I had high expectations for the race, my first one in the Principality with Ferrari," Raikkonen said. "I threw it all away in qualifying. In the second session I started on extra-soft tyres and when I came out of the swimming pool chicane I bumped with the right front wheel into the guard rail. It was not a very heavy bump, but enough to break the steering rope and to crack the suspension's lower arm: in the past I already hit the guard rail in a much more violent way and nothing happened."

"This time there was nothing we could do, although the team tried very hard: it would have been much too risky to get back on the track without having everything set up perfectly. This was my mistake. Let's not make a drama out of it, because these things happen in racing and there's no point in crying over spilt milk."

The Finn made a good start to gain several places but after that he was mostly just stuck behind other cars, as if often the case at Monaco. "There was not even one single lap I could push as I could have done and wanted to," he explained. "So it's difficult for me to understand what my race rhythm could have been."

"The car was perfectly set up since the beginning of the weekend, as it also was during the tests at Le Castellet the week before. I felt that maybe for the first time this year I could have given the max with the F2007. It's annoying when you're always stuck behind a slower car and you can't do anything to improve your position. At least we managed to bring home one point; still better than nothing."

The gap between Raikkonen and McLaren's championship leaders Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton is now 15 points, and there's a 10 point deficit to his teammate Felipe Massa, who lies in third place. However, it's early days and although it won't be easy for Raikkonen to catch up he is, unsurprisingly, ready to rise to the challenge.

"Sure, the gap between me and the top makes life harder, but this is still the first part of the championship," he commented. "We will give it our all to catch up and we will fight until the end. In case nothing really surprising happens, there are four drivers who can win a Grand Prix. This situation might actually help me a bit with bridging the gap."

McLaren was dominant last weekend but Raikkonen believes Ferrari can take on its rivals and hopes for the chance to go head-to-head without any external problems. "I knew that McLaren was to be very strong in Monaco, but I also knew that we could have a very good rhythm," he said. "It would be nice to have a direct confrontation. I hope that everything will finally go well at the next race."

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