Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen believes he has overcome a “wasted” Friday after qualifying fourth-fastest for Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix.
The Finn (pictured above) will start the 71-lap race from third on the grid behind teammate Sebastian Vettel and pole-winner Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes thanks to the five-place grid penalty for Lewis Hamilton, who will drop to eighth on the grid.
The 2007 World Champion lapped just under half a second off Vettel’s pace in the final phase of qualifying, which saw the Q3 runners denied an opportunity to improve on their best lap times when both Romain Grosjean and Max Verstappen triggered simultaneous yellow flags in the dying minutes of the session.
Despite this, Räikkönen was happy to qualify as high as he did, admitting that he and the team had to quickly recover from a troubled pair of Friday practice sessions.
“The whole weekend had been quite tricky so far and yesterday, for certain reasons, we did not have a very good day. This morning, we basically started from zero,” he said after qualifying.
“The feeling with the car was getting better and better, but it was not easy to recover from yesterday. The qualifying session was a bit messy, with the traffic and the yellow flags. I’m not very happy overall, but considering how tricky it has been , third place is not bad. It could have been much worse.”
Vettel felt that the yellow flag interruption robbed him of a shot at snatching pole position from Bottas, but the German is confident that he can take the fight to victory on Sunday after qualifying just four-hundredths of a second slower than the Mercedes driver.
“In the second run I was hoping to jump Bottas and I think I could have done better, but in the end I am pretty happy with my lap; the car is very good,” he said.
“Mercedes is always very quick in qualifying, but today we were close. I think it should be fine tomorrow. It will be a long race and many things can happen. The most important thing is that the car was good in qualifying. We will try to do our race and look forward. For sure it will be tough, but let’s see what we can do.”
The four-time World Champion, who leads Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship standings by 14 points, will look to take full advantage of the Englishman’s grid penalty. That being said, however, he urged the Ferrari team not to get distracted by their potential windfall.
“It’s a long race, and a lot of things can happen,” he cautioned in the post-qualifying press conference. “I think we have to look after our own race.”
Image via Scuderia Ferrari