Kimi Raikkonen concerned with Ferrari's gap to Mercedes

MELBOURNE, Australia -- He may be starting the Australian Grand Prix from the front row of the grid but Kimi Raikkonen is far from satisfied with Ferrari's early season qualifying pace.

Raikkonen went second fastest in Q3's final runs, 0.01s quicker than teammate Sebastian Vettel, after Lewis Hamilton had set a blistering lap around the Albert Park street circuit. Hamilton's time of 1:21.164 a significant 0.664s quicker than the Finn and Raikkonen admits Ferrari still have plenty of catching up to do if they are to compete with Mercedes in the early phase of the season.

"There's an awful lot of work to be done to improve in all areas," Raikkonen said. "We were all unsure where we were compared to the others and if you look purely at the lap time difference, for sure, it's bigger than we wanted.

"I had one mistake in Q2 and lost one run, then obviously we had to do the first run in Q3 with tyres that had already done half a lap. For sure, things could be a bit better here and there.

"It was not strighforward with the weather in the morning and the disturbance in Q3. We'll have to see it in the next qualifying sessions."

Red flags brought a halt to Q3 inside three minutes when Valtteri Bottas put his Mercedes into the wall on the exit of Turn 1 which hampered all flying lap preparations.

Raikkonen is bidding to become a three-time winner in Melbourne having claimed victories in 2007 and 2013 -- both times after securing a front row start -- but he is entering Sunday's race with realistic expectations.

"Whatever has happened in the past doesn't make any difference tomorrow," he said. "Obviously you want to be as far in front as you can, but that doesn't guarantee anything.

"We'll try to make a good race out of it and see where we end up. Hopefully we'll get a good result out of it."

Rolex Australian Grand Prix Schedule on ESPN Networks (all times Eastern)

Sat., March 24
Qualifying, 2 a.m., ESPN2

Sun., March 25
On the Grid, 12:30 a.m., ESPN2
Race, 1 a.m., ESPN2
Race (encore),11 a.m., ESPN2
Race (encore), 1 p.m., ESPNEWS
Race (encore), 9 p.m., ESPNEWS