Kimi Raikkonen positively surprised with Ferrari pace at Japanese GP

Kimi Raikkonen said he was "positively surprised" with the speed of his Ferrari after he qualified third for the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka

Kimi Raikkonen positively surprised with Ferrari pace at Japanese GP

The Finn said on Friday that there was "a lot of lap time" left in his Ferrari after admitting to "fighting with the car" throughout the two practice sessions.

But he turned it around to finish three tenths adrift of polesitter Nico Rosberg and 0.081s ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who drops three places to seventh because of a penalty for causing a collision at the start of the Malaysian Grand Prix.

"It's pretty much the same car that we raced a week ago," said Raikkonen.

"I don't think many people had a lot of difference.

"I'm positively surprised with how well the car has been behaving and how quick it has been.

"It has been tricky to get the right balance but it's been really good. So far so good.

"Third is not exactly what we're looking for but we were pretty close. It was not too bad."

Ferrari brought nine sets of soft tyres per driver to Suzuka - more than any other team - which meant it had enough available to run them in each of the three qualifying segments.

Red Bull, which has recently outperformed Ferrari, only had six sets and got through Q1 on the mediums.

When asked if using the soft consistently helped, Raikkonen said: "It doesn't harm, that's for sure.

"It's more easy when you have more sets of the same compounds so you can fine-tune.

"In qualifying, there's not an awful lot you can do if it is correct or not.

"We have been suffering a bit of understeer all weekend.

"Even in qualifying, it was slowing us down a little bit in the first sector but it got better in the end, we were a bit faster.

"It's very small details that have to come together and we put it more or less together.

"The car has been behaving quite good and we try to do at least the same if not better tomorrow."

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Hamilton happy to be close to Rosberg in Japanese GP qualifying

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