Kimi Raikkonen believes Alfa Romeo were chasing time a lot after he qualified P13 for the Chinese Grand Prix.
The Finn missed out on Q3 for the first time this season, but was only two tenths shy of Daniel Ricciardo, the final man to make the top-ten shootout in Shanghai.
It proved a miserable afternoon for his team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi who didn’t even turn a wheel in qualifying due to a suspected power unit issue.
Raikkonen believes the team had the pace, but were losing out badly on the long back straight despite their links to Ferrari who have been feared for their straight-line speed this weekend.
“A few runs were pretty OK, the first run in Q1,” he explained.
“But I got sideways in the last corner and the next two were pretty average. But I had a good feeling in the last one, it was more how it should be. So we just didn’t have the speed today.
“We lost speed on the back straight but we were on our own. Maybe the wind was a bit stronger on that lap compared to the previous. It is how it is.
Asked about prospects for Sunday’s race, he said: “We’ll see how it is tomorrow, but I would say a few of the free runs were pretty good and two in the middle were quite tricky, but I think the tyres seem to be behaving slightly different all of the sets. So not the easiest.”
— Alfa Romeo Racing (@alfaromeoracing) April 13, 2019
Team boss Frederic Vasseur claimed the former World Champion’s drop in pace was actually due to a strong gust of wind, but refused to use that as an excuse for the Q2 exit.
“It was not a loss of power, it was a loss of top speed,” said Vasseur.
“The first two events I think it went well for us. Sometimes it was a matter of hundredths, and we were on the top of the cut-off and sometimes you are just below it. You have to accept it. I think the race pace was strong yesterday. We’ll see at the end of lap one.”
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