Raikkonen took provisional pole after the first Q3 runs. Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg responded to wrest back the advantage, but the Finn had matched the German through the first two sectors of his final run, only to squander time running too deep into the Turn 14 hairpin, leaving him third behind Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
“It’s a shame, I had a chance to be on the top today,” said Raikkonen, who has not started from the front of the field since 2008.
“I’m a bit disappointed. The mistake cost us an easy second place, if not first. It would have been very close [for pole]. I was quite a bit up on that [final] lap, but ran wide and lost a lot of time.
“I don’t know if it would have been enough for pole, but it was very close. We tried. We still have third so it’s not a disaster, but obviously it could have been much more.”
Team mate Sebastian Vettel admitted he too had made too many errors, after gambling to save a set of tyres and just complete one run in Q3.
“I was happy and confident I could make it on the final lap, but I couldn’t,” he reflected.
“I made quite a few mistakes that cost me time. Unfortunately the run wasn’t good, otherwise we could have been two places higher I think.
“I think it will be interesting to see how the race unfolds. Nico is obviously starting on a different compound, [while] I have an extra set [of tyres] on hand. Maybe we won’t need it, but that’s the gamble we took.
"Hopefully he [Rosberg] has a poor start as his tyres are harder than ours and that we will be able to jump ahead."
Ferrari have not beaten Mercedes since Vettel’s victory in last year’s Singapore Grand Prix, but the German says the Silver Arrows are now not far out of reach.
"Race pace-wise we should be really strong so it’s a bit of a shame not to start from where we wanted to but it will be a long demanding race where anything can happen," he said.
"It won’t be easy but I think we are closer here than probably in the last two races."