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F1 NEWS 

Raikkonen says qualifying form hurting him

Finn Kimi Raikkonen believes he and his Ferrari team must improve their qualifying form if they want to fight on top in all races.

Although the Finn started from pole position in the season-opening race in Australia, a race he went on to win, he missed the front row both in Malaysia and again last Sunday in Bahrain.

His teammate Felipe Massa started from pole position in both races, and the Brazilian won in Bahrain while Raikkonen took a couple of third places.

The Ferrari driver reckons he will have to raise his game in qualifying if he wants to be in contention to fight for victory.

"We picked up a lot of points, but we could have done even better," said Raikkonen of his Bahrain race.

"We were unable to get as much out of the car as we would have liked. We have to work hard to achieve this and now we must wait for the Barcelona test to see how the new parts we have coming will work.

"The Bahrain weekend was difficult: the car was not quite the way I wanted and we did not do everything perfectly.

"I would say it can't be denied that the main problem is in qualifying. Our race pace is good and we can go up against anyone but over the single lap we are not there yet.

"And if you are not up with the front runners right from the start then you can say goodbye to the chance of winning."

Raikkonen is sharing the championship lead with McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, but the Finn reckons he could have won all three races had things gone right.

"Twenty two points are a good amount, as I said before, but I think I could have got all the available points. I am sure we can be stronger if we manage to optimise the performance of the car and I hope we start doing at the next test session.

"Even if all the teams will have new things, we can be sure that the fight will still be very tight.

"At the moment, there are at least two cars and four drivers at the same level, so it's going to be busy out there. For the fans it will definitely be exciting and spectacular and for our part, we cannot afford to make the slightest slip up if we want to win."

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