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Mat Coch writes:
Kimi Raikkonen's title hopes could be beginning to slip through his grasp as the Lotus driver struggles around the Marina Bay circuit in Singapore. Just twelfth fastest in both Friday's practice sessions, two seconds off the pace, the Finn was unhappy with his performance.
"It was not the easiest day," he confessed. "We don't have enough grip for some reason.
"It felt OK at the beginning, and then the rear went away," he explained. "When you put new tyres on it always feels better for the beginning." With tyres likely to be a critical factor in the race finding that grip while minimising degradation will be high on Raikkonen's list of priorities ahead of qualifying.
"Usually we improve on Saturday time-wise," he continued. "I think we can improve for tomorrow but we're not going to find two seconds unfortunately."
Not for the first time this season Raikkonen had entered the weekend as one of the favourites to win, his lack of pace therefore more puzzling, and worrying, given his title ambitions. Trailing Fernando Alonso by 38 points many had begun to speculate whether the 2007 world champion could claim this title without actually winning a race.
However his opening day's performance in Singapore did not fill the 32-year-old with confidence. "We can't catch up two seconds from today to the front, and they will improve also. It just shows that we are not as fast as we should be.
"Hopefully we can find something, and be a bit more happy than we are at the moment.
"If we keep doing like this we're not going to have any chance, but we have to try to improve," he added. "There's still quite a few races left, so hopefully we can be stronger than today."
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