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Raikkonen: we could have done better 18 Apr 2007

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Sunday, 15 April 2007

Despite leaving Bahrain as joint leader of the drivers’ championship, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen believes he could have improved on his start to the 2007 season. Raikkonen, who came home third at Sakhir on Sunday, shares the top of the standings with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and world champion Fernando Alonso.

“We picked up a lot of points, but we could have done even better,” Raikkonen told Ferrari’s official website. “We were unable to get as much out of the car as we would have liked. The Bahrain weekend was difficult: the car was not quite the way I wanted and we did not do everything perfectly.”

Unlike team mate Felipe Massa - who scored his second pole of the season in Bahrain - Raikkonen struggled for qualifying pace, as he had done a week earlier in Malaysia. In each of the three qualifying phases he was over half a second down on Massa and the Finn believes he must improve his Saturday performance if his title hopes are to maintain momentum.

“I would say it can't be denied that the main problem is in qualifying,” he admitted. “Our race pace is good and we can go up against anyone but over the single lap we are not there yet. And if you are not up with the front runners right from the start then you can say goodbye to the chance of winning."

Indeed, Raikkonen is convinced that without his qualifying woes, he could have repeated his victory in the Australian season opener at both of the following two rounds. Now he is focused on improving things ahead of the start of the European campaign.

“Twenty two points are a good amount, as I said before, but I think I could have got all the available points. I am sure we can be stronger if we manage to optimise the performance of the car and I hope we start doing (that) at the next test session.”

Raikkonen, currently resting at home in Switzerland, will join Ferrari at the multi-team test session at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya at the end of the month, ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix on May 11-13.