• Bahrain Grand Prix - Qualifying

Raikkonen confident of stronger race

ESPNF1 Staff
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Kimi Raikkonen: "We had the speed today and we could easily have gone through to the final session with another run" © Sutton Images
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Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen is hoping his poor qualifying performance at the Bahrain Grand Prix will have an upside on race day.

Raikkonen qualified 11th after failing to make the top-ten shootout with his single run in the Q2 knock-out phase. He is hoping the sets of tyres he saved by not taking part in Q3 will give him an advantage on race day when tyre degradation is expected to be high.

"We had the speed today and we could easily have gone through to the final session with another run, but we thought it was worth taking the risk to only do one lap in Q2 and save fresh sets of tyres for the race," Raikkonen said. "Managing the tyres will be a priority tomorrow, so while it was a gamble that didn't get us through to the final session it will hopefully be a strategy which pays off in the race.

"We knew it was going to be close and of course we always want to be as high up the grid as possible, but there were two options and we went for the one which we believe will deliver the best result on Sunday. There are no points given out on Saturday, so let's see what happens tomorrow."

Team-mate Romain Grosjean proved the car was capable of more by qualifying his Lotus seventh. But even he felt he could have done better.

"I think we can be pleased with how the car is working," he said. "If I hadn't made a small mistake on my flying lap we could maybe be even further up the order. It's a big contrast here to the conditions we saw in China, and I think we can be proud of how well we've adapted to that change as it makes finding the right setup a big challenge.

"Today we were maybe a bit further behind the leaders than we'd like, but our race pace looks good and it's another close grid so tomorrow should be very interesting."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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