Kimi Raikkonen admitted to feeling disappointed after narrowly missing out on his second Formula 1 pole position of the season in Malaysia, falling 0.045 seconds short of Lewis Hamilton in the final stage of qualifying.
Ferrari entered Saturday’s qualifying running as the favorite for pole following a strong showing in practice, only for an engine issue to sideline Sebastian Vettel from the session entirely.
Left to lead Ferrari’s charge, Raikkonen worked up a quick final lap in Q3 to run Hamilton close for pole, with a lock-up at the final corner appearing to prove costly as he was left to settle for P2 on the grid.
“It’s OK, but obviously when you get that close it’s disappointing,” Raikkonen admitted after the session.
“I made the most out of it. Yes, there are always places you can improve, but you are never going to get it 100 per cent perfect anywhere.
“You always find some things you can improve, but I must say the car has been behaving nicely all weekend and it’s been a pleasure so far.
“We’ll try to get further than 100 meters tomorrow, and let’s see what we can do.”
Raikkonen’s 100 meters reference harked back to the collision with Vettel and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen off the start in Singapore, with the latter set to start third tomorrow.
“I don’t want to be sandwiched – that’s the only thing,” Verstappen said when asked about his hopes for the race.
Raikkonen added: “I don’t want to be hit.”
The Malaysian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 2am on Sunday.
Car No.: 20
Best Finish: P7 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Championship Position: 14th
Kevin Magnussen’s move to Haas proved to be a win-win situation for both parties through 2017 as they banished the struggles of the previous Formula 1 season.
For Magnussen, the move came after a difficult one-season stint with Renault who despite offering him a way back into F1 after a year on the sidelines were unable to produce a car allowing the Dane to fight far up the order.
Haas had not expected to be able to be that much further ahead, but Magnussen nevertheless immediately offered an uplift in performance after replacing Esteban Gutierrez, who failed to score a single point through 2016.
Magnussen picked up Haas’ first points of the season with a solid drive in China, and was able to capitalize on the bonkers Baku race to take P7, which would ultimately be his best result of the season.
Consistency was a real issue for Haas throughout the year as it continued to have teething problems most new teams encounter, and while Magnussen was more able to drive around the problems than teammate Romain Grosjean, he lacked the ultimate pace of his teammate.
That said, Magnussen’s season highlight came in Mexico, a track Haas expected to be its worst of the season. The ex-McLaren driver qualified on the last row but produced a stunning display to finish eighth, soaking up pressure from Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton late on.
The signs are positive moving forward. Next year should be Haas’ best yet thanks to the stability in the regulations, presenting a good opportunity for Magnussen to prove his star quality.
Season High: Taking P8 in Mexico when Haas expected to be slowest.
Season Low: Lagging home P15 at Spa as Grosjean hit the points.