<
>

Kimi Raikkonen happy to start third after 'messy' qualifying

SPIELBERG, Austria -- After what he called a "messy" qualifying, Kimi Raikkonen said could not be disappointed to be starting the Austrian Grand Prix from third position.

Raikkonen was a full 0.5s off the battle for pole position and did not come close to matching Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel's times in FP1 or any of the three qualifying sessions. The Finn qualified fourth but will gain a place when Lewis Hamilton serves a five-place grid penalty from this position.

When asked if there was anything in particular he has been struggling with compared to Vettel this weekend, he replied: "Yesterday we had some difficulties but from this morning it was all back to normal. Obviously we kind of wasted the whole day yesterday and we started again this morning, so we only had two laps to try and sort it out.

"We made changes for qualifying and I think the car was good. It was a bit messy of a qualifying but I'm happy to start tomorrow from 3rd place and the car is fine. Considering how difficult it was being, I think we made the best out of it and tomorrow should be OK, so the race should be a bit easier"

Though Raikkonen was half a second off Valtteri Bottas' pole time, Vettel was just 0.042s short of snatching pole on a circuit known to be power-sensitive. Mercedes has been further ahead in qualifying at the last two races but Raikkonen said it was not a surprise to see the gap come down in Austria.

"I think that was probably expected. Obviously we never know, with conditions and so many things, but normally in qualifying the Mercedes have a big advantage but that was not the case today. Tomorrow in the race we'll have to see, but we are a bit better compared to them, normally, but if that's going to be the case tomorrow, we'll see tomorrow. We'll try to make a good race."