* Raikkonen fails to start Malaysian race
* Finn sidelined with loss of power
* Problem emerged on way to the grid
* Had been set to start on the front row (Recasts, adds quotes, context)
By Abhishek Takle
SEPANG, Malaysia, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Kimi Raikkonen said it was “pointless” to ponder what might have been after the chance of a potential victory went begging for the Finn when he failed to start Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
The 37-year-old was set to start on the front row of the grid alongside Lewis Hamilton after being beaten to pole position by the Briton by just 0.045 seconds on Saturday.
He reported a loss of power, however, as he drove around the circuit on the way to the grid and was wheeled back into the pits to watch from the sidelines as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen raced to his second career win.
“I noticed it on the way to the grid, it came out of nowhere,” Raikkonen told reporters.
“It’s disappointing for all of us but it’s nothing we can change.”
Sunday’s race could have been Raikkonen’s best chance of victory this season at the track where he took his first Formula One win in 2003.
Despite Hamilton’s pole position, Mercedes struggled all weekend with what team-boss Toto Wolff described as a “capricious” car.
With Raikkonen’s team mate Sebastian Vettel starting dead last after a power unit problem prevented from him setting a time in qualifying, the Finn would have been given free rein by Ferrari to run away at the front rather than play a supporting role to the four-time champion.
Vettel’s pace on Sunday only further underlined what could have been for Raikkonen.
The 30-year-old staged a remarkable recovery to fourth, unleashing his car’s ominous pace to scythe through the field and set a new lap record in the process.
He now trails championship leader Hamilton by 34 points in the standings.
“I’m pretty sure that my car would have been very good,” said Raikkonen, whose last victory came at 2013’s season-opening race in Australia driving for Lotus.
“But obviously we never know and it’s pointless to start guessing anything.
“The end result doesn’t change so that’s how it is.” (Reporting by Abhishek Takle; Editing by Alan Baldwin/John O‘Brien/Toby Davis)