Kimi Raikkonen has hinted that he is ready to compromise Ferrari's strong race form in a bid to get on top of the qualifying issues that have marred his season.
The world champion believes that starting further up the grid is now key to a successful defence on his crown - and says he is ready to focus on achieving that even if it means not having such a good car in the races.
"It is not a new issue - sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don't," said Raikkonen in Valencia about his qualifying woes. "More often, unfortunately, we don't get it right.
"So we definitely try to find a halfway solution in qualifying to have maybe a car that is not exactly what we want but is maybe a bit easier to drive and doesn't have the issues that we don't want. But we are still looking for it - and it depends a lot on the circuits.
"Some circuits it is easier to get it right, at some it is very difficult. Hopefully we have found some halfway solution where we are fast but can still be happy with."
This year's Ferrari is less harsh on its tyres than its McLaren rival - which means it is not as good at getting heat into its rubber for crucial qualifying laps. However, the characteristic does mean that the Ferrari is better able to look after its tyres in the races.
While Raikkonen believes that his race pace is fine, he recognises that qualifying well will be a critical factor in the battle for the title, given the level of competition between McLaren and Ferrari.
"The last race if you look, you could not get past anybody if they did not make a mistake," he said. "So, it is the same here. The circuit is very wide, and there are some long straights, so here there are some better overtaking chances than it was in Hungary.
"But still, if you are not in front then you are going to lose many seconds stuck behind people, even if you get past them in the end. It is always crucial to be at the front."
Raikkonen added that he also needed to dig deeper from within himself.
"I haven't been fast enough, that is the first point," said Raikkonen. "Without going off in the last qualifying we could easily have been in third place, so it is the small things that when it goes wrong you lose a lot of time, and it looks much worse than it is.
"It can be just a small issue and it makes you go off the circuit and run wide, and you lose a lot of time.
"Since we changed to these tyres, even last year I wasn't exactly happy in qualifying - even though in race conditions we are much happier with the car.
"Overall, I am happy where we are right now," he added. "Lately the races have not been exactly what I was expecting, so hopefully we will get some good races now and get back where we should be.
"The biggest issue is getting stuck behind people after having a bad qualifying, so if we can sort out that then we should be fine. We just need to work on some things and hopefully we will get back to winning some races."
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