Kimi Raikkonen said there were "many little reasons" behind his struggles in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix, where he had to settle for fifth on the grid.
Ferrari was expected to challenge Mercedes for pole position this weekend and had looked closely matched in practice. While Sebastian Vettel appeared set to take the fight to the world champions in qualifying and eventually finished third, Raikkonen struggled, complaining about understeer and rear tyre warm-up at a circuit where he has scored eight podiums in his F1 career.
His eventual margin to the front was 0.798, with Daniel Ricciardo stealing a surprise spot on the second row for Red Bull by 0.022s. Raikkonen, whose recent form has been called into question by Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne, admits he just could not extract the car's full potential under the Sakhir floodlights.
"I think that, overall, the car was better [than previous races], I think there was a lot of potential, but we never really got the lap time out of it," he said. "For many little reasons, but it was obviously far from what I wanted. But that's how it ended up and there's nothing that we can change now.
"We obviously struggled to find the right set-up but, overall, it's been better here than it has been in the last couple of races. Obviously when we start to push in qualifying, it's not exactly what I wanted. In the end, there's always a bit of guesswork involved because the conditions change a lot here, but I think there was a lot of potential, but the end result was far from what I wanted."
Raikkonen, who was unhappy with Ferrari's strategy calls at the Chinese Grand Prix, where he also finished fifth, says it is important the team makes "the right decisions" to ensure a strong result.
"Tomorrow is another day, but I'm, obviously, in a far from ideal position for the start, but it's going to be quite a tricky race tomorrow, so hopefully we make the right decisions and make the best out of it."