Defending world champion Kimi Raikkonen was pleased to return to the sharp end of the field in qualifying Sunday’s pivotal Japanse Grand Prix after a disappointing run of form.
The Finn has not won a race since April and last qualified on the front row of the grid at the French Grand Prix in June.
Barring a brief return to form at his favourite track at Spa the outcome albeit far from desired after he dropped his Ferrari into the wall in the dying laps Raikkonen has failed to muster the kind of performances that saw him close a twenty point deficit to Lewis Hamilton in last year’s title campaign.
Ferrari may be expecting the 28-year-old to play support role in the remaining races of this season, but his charge to second place in qualifying on Saturday will no doubt underline his intentions to step up to the mark once again.
“It is nice to be back,” said Raikkonen. “I’m still not where I want to be. I’m not very happy about how things are going, and not 100 percent happy with the car. It’s quite frustrating.”
“Usually qualifying has been the worst thing for us so we should be strong in the race. We’ll see what we can do tomorrow. We have done a lot of work, and it is good to be in a good place to start tomorrow.”
Raikkonen is currently 27 points adrift of championship leader Lewis Hamilton and admits he has very little to lose in Sunday’s race.
“I don’t have much to lose,” he said. “We want to try to win the world championship and it will not be easy against McLaren but we are doing our best I hopefully tomorrow we can fight for the win and if we can get it it would be nice.
“I want to finish with nice results in the last three races of the season.”