"Disappointed" Raikkonen still plagued by understeer

Kimi Raikkonen has admitted he continues to struggle with understeer in his Ferrari SF70H, as he placed fourth again in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.

"Disappointed" Raikkonen still plagued by understeer
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari

Raikkonen had been a distant fourth in qualifying for the season opener in Melbourne, lapping 0.845s off the pace and going on to finish 22 seconds behind race-winning teammate Sebastian Vettel.

He conceded then that he "suffered a bit with understeer" throughout the Australian GP weekend - and it was an issue that has not been sorted fully in time for qualifying in China.

The Finn led the way in Q2 with a late run, but made only a marginal improvement on his best time in the final segment and ended up almost three tenths down on teammate Vettel.

"I don't know, really, the first run in last qualifying was just pretty poor overall, and then we struggled a bit with Turn 3 the whole qualifying - just a little bit still understeering," Raikkonen explained.

"We gave up way too much laptime there, never really got it back. Disappointed, but feeling-wise it was a lot better."

After topping Q2, Raikkonen was noticeably out of his element early on in the final segment, as he radioed in: "Very bad grip, and the rear is not good - are the settings different?"

He clarified after the session that his second run was "very similar" to Q2, but that having to push harder exacerbated the existing problems.

"There were the same issues, when you push harder and harder, when there's an issue, it just highlights it.

"You need the front in certain places to go fast, and it's not big, but it's enough to delay you going on power or carrying speed through tight places. Makes enough of a difference to be on the back foot."

Raikkonen said he was running a slightly different set-up to teammate Vettel and lamented the fact that he didn't get to work on it on Friday, with FP1 run in wet conditions and FP2 cancelled.

"It really probably is the worst time to have a day like yesterday," he said. "If yesterday we could've run, for sure we would've made a much clearer [set-up] decision. But this is how it is sometimes.

"It's taking a little while [to solve the problems] and obviously not ideal, but we know the issue and we just need some clear Fridays. I'm sure next race we can be a bit more happy.

"Overall it's not too bad, it's just the small things, and small things make a big difference in the laptime."

Additional reporting by Ben Anderson

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