Raikkonen makes slow start to title defence | india | Hindustan Times
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Raikkonen makes slow start to title defence

india Updated: Mar 15, 2008 17:33 IST

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Kimi Raikkonen made a forgettable start to his world title defence when a fuel pump problem ruined his chances of securing pole position at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

The Finn will start Sunday's race from the unfamiliar place of 16th on the grid after his Ferrari broke down at the end of Saturday's first qualifying session at Albert Park.

"Clearly I am disappointed," Raikkonen told reporters.

"I had a problem with the electronic fuel pump which forced me to stop near the pit lane and so it was impossible for me to get back to the garage to try and fix the problem.

"These things happen but it's definitely not the best way to start the season.

"Now we must try to do our best to pick up some points tomorrow because it is important to score something in every race."

Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali said the team's mechanics were still trying to discover exactly what caused the breakdown.

"This is definitely not the result we were expecting," he said.

"We have to work out exactly what happed to Kimi's car to stop and tomorrow he will have a hard fight all through the race to move up the order."


Ferrari have grabbed pole in five of the past seven grands prix in Australia but failed to get either car on the front row this season when Felipe Massa finished fourth after having his own problems.

"I don't think it's what it looks like because I didn't do a lap with my last set of tyres," the Brazilian said.

"When I went for the last try on my out-lap I was stuck by many, many cars going very slow and with our car we have to push it on the out-lap otherwise we don't get the right temperature and grip on the tyres.

"I was penalised because of that and it was a shame because I think I would have challenged for the pole."

Raikkonen won the race last year when Massa was beset with problems and Ferrari's head of track activities Luca Baldisserri said it was like deja vu.

"I got the impression I was watching a replay of last year's qualifying but an even worse version," he said.

"We knew from this winter that we would struggle a bit to do quick times over a single lap and that difficulty cropped us this afternoon.

"However, we are competitive in terms of race pace and so we can be reasonably confident about tomorrow, even if Kimi clearly faces an uphill struggle."