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Mar 17, 2012, 01.45 PM IST | Source: Reuters

Raikkonen knocked out in first Melbourne qualifying

MOTOR-RACING-PRIX-RAIKKONEN:Raikkonen knocked out in first Melbourne qualifying

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen, returning to Formula One after two years away, failed to get through the first phase of qualifying for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

The Finn, who won from pole position for Ferrari at Albert Park in 2007, lost control of his Lotus on a corner on his final flying lap and the detour onto the trackside grass cost him a place in the last 17 to contest the second round of qualifying.

Despite the promising pace shown by the Lotus in pre-season testing, Raikkonen will line up in 18th place on the ninth row of the grid for Sunday's race, barring any penalties for other drivers.

The 32-year-old former Sauber, McLaren and Ferrari driver, who won the world title in 2007, also suffered the ignomy of being outqualified by his inexperienced French team mate Romain Grosjean.

(Editing by Alastair Himmer)

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