Kimi Raikkonen admits he was partly to blame for the tactical mistake in qualifying that put him at the back of the grid for the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Ferrari driver, who dominated the race last year from pole, could have joined teammate Felipe Massa at the sharp end of the grid for Sunday’s race such is the improvement that the team have made here in Barcelona as a result of an extensive aero upgrade to the F60.
But yet another tactical blunder from the Scuderia saw Raikkonen knocked out in the opening qualifying session, relegated to sixteenth place on the grid. His mechanics thought he was safe after he lapped fifth quickest in the early stages of Q1 but as the clock ticked down the Ferrari driver himself perilously close to the drop zone.
The team made no effort to prep their man for a second run and late flying laps from Nelson Piquet, Jarno Trulli, and Nick Heidfeld – all of whom lifted themselves into the top 15 – sealed Raikkonen s fate.
The 29-year-old admits he was partly responsible for his own downfall since he was not keen on making a second run. “We made a stupid mistake,” he rued. “It s a real shame because the car was much better than the one we had in the previous races and we had every chance of getting a good result.”
“I didn t get any particularly good laps on my only run in Q1, but we thought my best time would be enough to make it to Q2 and so I stayed in the garage. There s no point in saying whose fault it was, because we can t do anything about it now.”
“I certainly wasn t keen on doing another run as I was thinking of saving a set of new soft tyres for Q3 and the team reckoned we could make it.”
Ferrari team manager Chris Dyer knows it was a costly mistake: “We made a serious mistake in our evaluation of Q1, believing that Kimi s time would have been good enough to get him through to the next stage. It was a serious error which is really regrettable.”