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Kimi Raikkonen not convinced gap to Mercedes is 'real picture'

Clive Mason/Getty Images

Kimi Raikkonen has warned against reading too much into the time difference between Mercedes and Ferrari during qualifying for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton qualified over 0.8s ahead of the highest-placed Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel in third and Mercedes dominated the session throughout. But Raikkonen, who qualified fourth and over a second off Hamilton, believes cool conditions and the track layout resulted in the gap being so big.

"There's a difference obviously, I struggled a bit with the warm up," he said. "On the last set was slightly better but I wouldn't put too much in to the time differences between us and Mercedes here. Obviously yes we would rather be in the front but it has been quite a strange weekend so far and for us I think it would be better to have slightly warmer conditions to have the tyres ready and working better.

"The car feels pretty good so I think it's too early. Once we go to the next races and normal circuits and hopefully more normal conditions then we'll see the real picture. Obviously they are very fast but I don't think we should be too worried."

Raikkonen said Ferrari only completed one run in Q3 compared to Mercedes' two because it wanted to keep a single set of fresh super-soft tyres for both its drivers in Sunday's race.

"We had a new set of tyres but we decided to save it for tomorrow's race. It's the decision that we had to make and we'll see how it plays out tomorrow. We had tyres but I don't think it would have changed a lot, I think we would have been just between us two. So not an ideal qualifying but I don't think it's too bad."