Kimi Raikkonen Qualifies Third for Brazil GP, Calls Lap ‘Average’

By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief

Kimi Raikkonen put in one of his best qualifying efforts of the season ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix with a third place effort on Saturday, but wasn’t overly impressed with the lap.

The 37-year-old Finn bettered Scuderia Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel, who could only manage fifth, and Red Bull Racing teenager Max Verstappen. The 2007 F1 World Champion is in the midst of a battle with both in securing fourth place in the Drivers’ Championship, trailing Vettel 187-178 while also being ahead of Verstappen by a lone point.

Although he trailed the Mercedes duo in a best of the rest situation, Raikkonen admitted he struggled to consistently find pace throughout the day.

“I struggled the whole qualifying, in a few places, a few corners and in the middle sector,” Raikkonen said. “To be honest the last lap was pretty average in my view, but obviously it was enough to be in third place. The Mercedes seems to be a bit too far.

“I struggled in the first two corners with tire warm-up a bit and even the middle I wasn’t very happy but I don’t mind, it was good enough for this and we will see what we can do.”

The 20-time grand prix winner believes that Saturday’s improvements showcase Ferrari’s ability to perhaps take the fight to Red Bull, who has had the upper hand as of late.

“It’s been very close with Red Bull, most of the year,” Raikkonen said. “Sometimes we’ve been a bit behind, sometimes in front. I think we’ve done in the recent races a very good job as a team, improved in certain areas, tried new things and have learned some positive things.

“As a team we’ve worked very well and that has helped us to go back to where we were at the start of the year. Hopefully we can have a good, strong race tomorrow. I think it’s all about learning from what we’ve done, improving things and having everyone pushing in the same direction.”

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Joey Barnes is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, IndyCar.com and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.

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