Kimi bemused by lack of pace

Raikkonen Germany Kimi Raikkonen had little to offer in the way of explanation for his lacklustre performance in Hockenheim.

The Ferrari driver struggled with the handling and balance of his F2008 throughout the weekend and qualified a lowly sixth place, behind the McLaren pairing and crucially his team-mate Felipe Massa.

Things didn’t get much better in the race and the Finn came home in the same position that he started after dropping a place to Robert Kubica at the first corner, and losing out under the safety car period.

The result, coupled with Felipe Massa’s failure to trouble McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton left the Ferrari camp scratching their heads.

“This is definitely not a crisis,” said Raikkonen doing his best to diffuse the situation, “but we have to study carefully the handling of the car to understand if we have taken the right road in terms of development.

“Usually, our race pace is always good, but today that was not the case, because I almost always suffered with a lack of grip: only in the final stages did the situation improve a little bit, but it was never enough to be competitive.”

“We have a test in Jerez, where we will try and improve the car so as to arrive in Budapest in better shape.”

Much of the talk coming from Ferrari centres on an explanation for some unknown problem. Another scenario is that McLaren have been able to seize the initiative in the arms race and develop their car quicker than their Italian rivals.

Certainly, the MP4-23 has seemed to be enjoying both the high-speed and low-downforce elements of tracks such as Hockenheim as much as the low-speed corners.

Whatever Ferrari’s problems, things could get worse before they get better. Three of the next four tracks, Hungary, Valencia and Monza, should suit McLaren better, and that leaves little time for the Scuderia to get on top of things.