Raikkonen unflappable in fifth

Kimi Raikkonen is remaining optimistic despite qualifying fifth at Suzuka today. The Finn is behind both Michael Schumacher and his on-form team-mate David Coulthard.

Raikkonen unflappable in fifth

Raikkonen needs to win on Sunday to have any chance of passing Michael Schumacher for the world title. He'll want to start closer to the front, and certainly avoid any repetition of the costly Saturday qualifying errors that saw him starting near the back at three races this season.

But the McLaren driver was less than a tenth slower than Schumacher in what was a very close session. He admitted that the McLaren needs more speed through the Esses.

"My lap was OK but there is still room for improvement," said Kimi. "In the first sector I lost about four tenths of a second compared to the best sector time. I'm pleased with how the car feels, especially in the second and third sectors.

"At the end of the day we are here to do our best and that is what we will continue to do."

Coulthard had one of his best Friday sessions of the season this morning, but joined much of the field in saying that he could have gone better and expects more speed to come tomorrow.

"I'm reasonably happy with that lap and believe there is still more to come as the car is performing well," said Coulthard.

"I was a bit cautious going into the hairpin and slowed the car too much. But what you lose on entry you sometimes gain on traction. I think the drivers who took part in this morning's free practice had an advantage because it's difficult to learnt the new chicane.

Coulthard may have a point, for quickest driver Jarno Trulli was one of the morning testers in his Renault. Tomorrow's qualifying could show a different picture after everybody has reaped the benefits of the morning free practice.

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