Raikkonen says traffic cost him shot at Sochi pole

Kimi Raikkonen believes traffic on his outlap and the resulting loss of tyre temperature in Sochi qualifying cost him a shot at his first Formula 1 pole in nine years.

Raikkonen says traffic cost him shot at Sochi pole
Polesitter Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, second place Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, third place Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H
Polesitter Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Polesitter Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari

The Finn held provisional pole position after the first runs in Q3, but failed to improve on his second attempt and was jumped by Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel after making a mistake at the final corner pushing to make up for lost time.

The gap between the pair was just 0.059s at the end of qualifying, meaning Raikkonen could have taken pole with even a slender improvement had the tyres been as good as they were on the first run.

“We just had traffic on the outlap on the last set and couldn’t make the tyres work as well as the first run,” said Raikkonen. “It was a bit more tricky. I tried to get it back in the last corner and it didn’t pay off.

“I am happier than previous qualifying [sessions], but we had all the tools to be in the front today, but one-two for the team is not bad.”

Vettel: Poor first run put pressure on

Vettel admitted that he had an untidy run on his first attempt in Q3, which put the pressure on for his second run as he attempted to improve on third place.

“I had a good start to the session and was feeling reasonably comfortable, and in Q2 lost lost the rhythm on my final run, which would give me the idea for the first of Q3,” said Vettel.

“I locked up, and on my first run in Q3 it wasn’t tidy, so I made up for it in the second run.

“I knew we could do well and the car was good, but didn’t know what they [Mercedes] might be able to find in the last bit of qualifying. I knew we could do it, but didn’t know how strong in relation to them.”

Vettel accepted that the Mercedes tyre troubles and the track configuration had potentially helped Ferrari’s qualifying pace.

In the previous three races of 2017, Mercedes had the edge in qualifying, and Vettel admitted Mercedes looked strong heading into the Sochi weekend.

“Coming here, on paper they looked very strong and they were strong yesterday, but as Valtteri [Bottas] said maybe they were not comfortable with the tyre treatment and temperatures,” said Vettel.

“I think the track, the layout, is not bad for us. Last year we were were strong here. We didn’t have any problems, we had smooth sessions so far this weekend and the car felt very good.”

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