Raikkonen Happy with Margin

Monaco Grand Prix provisional pole position man Kimi Raikkonen refused to be drawn on whether his stunning lap on Saturday was the best qualifying performance of his career - but admitted it was up there among the best

Raikkonen Happy with Margin

The Finn left World Championship leader Fernando Alonso firmly in his wake with a lap that was almost half a second quicker than the Renault driver could manage - and now has a pretty comfortable cushion ahead of Sunday's final qualifying session.

When asked straight after the session whether he believe that was his best ever qualifying lap, Raikkonen said: "It is always difficult to say. I have had good qualifying laps here before, but it was one of the good ones. And as long as it is good enough for pole then that is all that really matters."

Raikkonen, who is rapidly emerging as Alonso's main title rival despite a disappointing early part to his campaign, admitted that he was surprised to have had such a margin at the front.

"Yeah," he said. "Driving around on the first day I was very happy with the car and it really worked well and the tyres worked well. I was already confident in the morning that we would have a good car, but the lap wasn't very good in the morning.

"My car is very good here. I think this is the best car I have ever driven here, so I was confident we could have a good weekend."

McLaren will now face an anxious night trying to plot their fuel strategy to ensure that Raikkonen has as much fuel on board for final qualifying to enable him to keep hold of his pole position slot.

"We don't know what the others will do so we have to be careful," added Raikkonen. "We just need a good lap tomorrow.

"It is important to be on pole or on the front row. It is pretty much impossible to overtake and getting pole position is always going to help you in the race.

"Tomorrow is another day - we still have to keep the pole, but we have a very good margin."

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Series Formula 1
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