Archive for April, 2012

Kimi’s column: Bahrain GP review


Up Where We Belong!

Obviously, I’ve got more points than ever before, but, for sure, it was not the best race of my life. We had a chance to get to the top position at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Well, we tried our best, but it was not enough. We finished second and I’ve got my first podium after a couple of years.

The weather was good. Finally it was consistently warm. Our car likes that and it felt really good after we had the proper set-up work done on Friday better than in the previous race weekends.

The key factor was the tyre degeration. It’s the same for everybody, but everybody can approach it in their own way. We decided to gamble the qualifying and went accordingly through it. To save new tyres for the race, we did only one lap in Q2. We knew it will be tight, and we lost it. But still I had a encouraged feeling for Sunday.

After the race in China and after the qualifying in Bahrain, people probably started thinking that we are idiots and cannot do anything right. But we showed in the race why we did what we did. It was close already in China and this time our strategy paid back very nicely for us.

We were at our fastest speed while it counted. I managed to overtake Romain and after that I’ve was hunting down Sebastian. It was close getting past him, too, but I would have needed more than one chance to make it. Now I chose the wrong side for braking, Sebastian survived and after that, I pretty much knew, that was it.

Of course, I wanted to win. I would have been much happier myself after the race. But, most of all, it was a great result for the team. The team gained many places in the constructors’ championship, while finally we got both our cars in the points ­and, most of all, in the podium as well.

Only McLaren has had two cars in top 3 in the season like us. That shows how tight and how close it is with so many top teams. You have to get everything exactly right to be at the top. Small mistakes­ or a measured risk like we had ­ and you are out from Q3 and most likely out of podium, too.

Now the team is back up where we belong. The Bahrain result was good, but it’s not good enough for us. We will push even harder to get good results on regular basis. I wouldn’t count on winning, but you never know how it goes in motor racing.

Next step is testing in Mugello. For Barcelona we have again some new parts and also some good data from the winter testing. Let’s wait and see how it goes there in two weeks time.

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Salo: Raikkonen can win title this year


Former F1 driver Mika Salo reckons that Kimi Raikkonen could battle it out for the title this year, providing Lotus ‘maintains the development’ of the E20.

Raikkonen came close to winning in Bahrain last weekend and while he is only seventh currently in the drivers’ championship, 19 points behind Sebastian Vettel, Salo still thinks his fellow countryman is a real contender.

“The most consistent team has been Lotus,” Salo told “They’ve been fast at every circuit so far. In that sense, Kimi’s situation looks very good.

“I would not exclude it at all that he will be fighting at the very end of the championship, if Lotus is able to maintain the pace of development.”

Marc Surer, who raced in F1 from 1979-1986, concurs that Lotus’ ability to develop the E20 will be key.

“I think Kimi has shown everyone that he is still able to do just what he was doing before [leaving and spending two years in the WRC]. He is a lot younger than [Michael] Schumacher [who also took a break and came back], and if you look at the past 10 years, Kimi is probably one of the best talents that we have seen in F1,” Surer told Servus TV in Austria.

“[But] they [Lotus] also began the previous season just as well, but soon after they were nowhere.

“So the real question is, ‘Do they have the resources to develop the car and stay where they are now?'”

Racing against Kimi on the Nürburgring


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Before Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom came under pressure from the feds he shot this video of himself and partner Finn Batato racing Germany’s famed Nürburgring racing circuit in three of his crazy cars with F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen in the summer of 2011. According to Dotcom the final edit was “seized by the FBI.”

This edit looks pretty good to us.

You’ll remember Kim Schmitz — a.k.a. Kim Dotcom — had his company Megaupload seized by the Feds and all his cars impounded over various piracy claims. He’s since been released from jail but was banned from the Internet.

That didn’t stop someone from uploading (on the MrKimDotcom YouTube account) this video of Kim, Batato and a relaxed Kimi crossing the finish line of the Nürburgring at just a hair under the eight-minute mark in heavily modified (see those NOS tanks back there?) Mercedes-Benz AMG CLK DTM supercars.

The video makes some big claims about the shoot:

A fun day on the most famous race track in the world. This video shows a full lap around the ring.

Kim Dotcom, Kimi Raikkonen and Finn Batato on the Nürburgring Norschleife with three highly modified Mercedes Benz AMG CLK DTM supercars. A fun day on the most famous race track in the world. This video shows a full lap around the ring.

It took 20 laps to get all the shots for this video. It’s a homage to the Nurburgring, the CLK DTM and Kimi Raikkonen, one of the best drivers in the world.

I DID NOT WIN against Kimi. I never could. We had to remove the air from his tires to keep up. And even then it was impossible :-)

The production involved 30 cameras, 100+ crew, 2 helicopters, 2 camera cars and one fixed wing aircraft.

The song “Take me away” was produced by Kim Dotcom and Printz Board.

P.S. The final edit was seized by the FBI during the Megaupload raid.
It will be uploaded as soon as it returns (if ever).
The current version has a few problems and no color correction. Sorry.

Thank you Kimi Raikkonen.
You are the best driver in the world and I am your biggest fan.

Ask Kimi! – Part 2


Over the course of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, Lotus F1 Team invited fans to ask their questions to Kimi via the official team website. Part 2 sees the Finn answer the second half of the best queries we received, including his thoughts on caps, sunglasses, social media, Sebastian Vettel and taking risks to win…

Essi Kimi:
 Why do you always wear a cap and sunglasses, even when there is no sun?

KR: I like caps and I like sunglasses. I have very sensitive eyes so I have to protect them with the sunglasses.

Noémi Kovács: Have you ever got something special from your fans?

KR: I receive a lot of gifts from fans… they can be really inventive and it makes me smile. They remember my birthday, they send their congratulations and their supporting slogans in Finnish. That’s something special, isn’t it?

Prakasita Nindyaswari:
 Why you don’t have a twitter account?

KR: Well, I don’t really like twitter… or facebook. I prefer privacy.

Cindy Idier: 
What will be your revenge against Sebastian Vettel after what he did on the podium? Did you see the pictures?

KR: Yeah I saw that, it was funny. The revenge will come soon enough, I hope! Getting on the first step of the podium would be a good start.

Lisa Munro: 
Who’s better at badminton, you or Sebastian Vettel?

KR: I keep on winning! It’s something like 100 to 0 so far…

Steve Jones:
 What is your favourite activity outside of Formula 1?

KR: I like a lot of things… all kinds of sports and games where there is an element of competition. Ice Hockey is my current favourite while it’s still time for winter sports.

Anastasia Kozlova: 
What would you choose: a guaranteed 2nd place (which definitely brings you a Constructor’s Title) or a risky strategy with a 10% chance for 1st place? (Let’s say the race is taking place at Spa)

KR: I think it’s more exciting if you have to battle and take some risks to obtain the top spot. I’m here to win!

Oszter Tamás
: What situation makes you nervous on the race track?

KR: If somebody is doing something really stupid. But luckily right now the grid is very talented!

Divine Y. Lopez: You’re always so calm and collected. How do you do manage that being involved in a sports that’s, to my mind, frequently tension-filled and highly stressful?

KR: I just focus on racing and don’t let other things bother me. I have been in racing for two thirds of my life now; you just get used to being in this environment.

Sarah Moreau: Can you explain why you always perform so well at Spa?

KR: I really like the track so I guess that helps. I’m looking forward to racing there again and hopefully come home with a good result for the team.

Ask Kimi! – Part 1


Over the course of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, Lotus F1 Team invited fans to ask their questions to Kimi via the official team website. Part 1 sees the Finn answer the first half of the top 20 queries we received, including his thoughts on driving styles, team-mates, first cars, helmets and of course… ice-cream!

Irati Fujimoto:
 What ice cream flavour do you like most?

KR: [smiles] There is no specific flavour… vanilla, chocolate, strawberry the traditional Finnish ice cream flavour – whatever is available.

Hubert Boroń:
 How do you relax after a race?

KR: I like to chill out with my close friends. Sometimes, I have a couple of my Finnish mates with me in the paddock and I like it a lot. It’s just nice to chat with them in Finnish, to think about something else than racing.

Michael Kearns: 
What was your first car and what do you have in the garage these days? Have you still got the Enzo?

KR: It was a Lada, a used one. I had good fun with it. I haven’t got the Enzo anymore but I have a nice Lotus Evoras S, which is a really good compromise.

Tania Dhaliwal: 
What kind of music do you listen to and who is your favourite singer / band?

KR: Most of all I like the music the Finns play. I also like Linkin Park, I think they’re cool.

Maki Fujita:
 Do you think a hat trick (pole + win + fastest lap) could be possible in the E20? If so, at which circuit will it be?

KR: That would be nice! After our performance in Bahrain, I know that we can do even better. The win was very, very close. We’ll have to see at which circuit that will be… but keep in mind, you don’t gain any extra points for poles and fastest lap times!

Vinay Pothnis: How would you know if you have done a perfect lap?

KR: There is not a perfect lap, only in dreams. You can get a great lap without any mistakes, but you can always improve it, believe me!

Vinay Pothnis: How do you improve on a lap by lap basis in a race?

KR: With brand new tyres, you always go faster compared to used ones. Also, the car gets lighter and lighter in the race. While the new tyre drops off, there is no way you can improve your times after a few laps. Normally, you improve the time with the right timing of pits stops and then burning the fuel so the car gets lighter all the time to the Finish.

Rene Speksnijder:
 We learned that you are a bit more harsh on the engine then Romain. In which way does that affect the car? Furthermore, how do you like the engine to pick-up regarding your use of the throttle?

KR: I have driven the car and used the throttle in the same way all my career. Every driver has his own style of going fast. This is mine. It is maybe a bit harsh, but it remains within the scope of what the Renault engine can take.

Horváth Levente: 
What’s the red motif on your helmet and what does it symbolize?

KR: There is the number 9 in red as that’s my number in the championship. But the helmet design is just a design, it is not trying to symbolize anything special. I like to change the design each year. So it’s easy to remember afterwards which season relates to which helmet.

Horváth Levente: Who has been the strongest team-mate in your F1 career?

KR: Almost of all of them have been very competitive! But I never focus on them, I just concentrate on my own doings with my crew. That’s the only way to beat them and the rest of the field.

Part 2 of the Ask Kimi feature is coming up tomorrow afternoon (Thursday 26/04/12), so keep your eyes peeled to see if your question has been answered by the Iceman!

Mugello test schedule


Lotus Mugello test line up:
May 1st – Jerome
May 2nd – Kimi
May 3rd – Romain

Jerome d’Ambrosio will have his first taste of the Lotus E20 on the opening day of next week’s Mugello Formula 1 test.

The Lotus reserve driver, who raced for Virgin last season but was unable to find a seat for 2012, has not driven since last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix, except for a filming run in February in a 2010 Renault. The Belgian is scheduled to start work in the Lotus simulator on Tuesday ahead of his first taste of the new car on May 1.

Kimi Raikkonen is scheduled to drive on the second day of the test, with Romain Grosjean taking over the Lotus on May 3. (more…)

Photos: Second ice age begins at Bahrain GP

KRS went crazy yesterday and the Skydrive archive went bust as a result. But fear not, here are all the pictures from Sunday including racing action. If you want the full weekend gallery, click here (may not work at times due to problem fixing)

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[For viewing purposes only. All pictures belong to their owners respectively.]

RTL fun interview with Vettel and Raikkonen

During the Bahrain Grand Prix build-up, German F1 broadcaster RTL aired an interview with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, which took place at Chinese GP.


Transcript (courtesy of whenshesayshush)

So, to warm-up first the puzzle Championship, Vettel kicks off like a star pupil and waits and waits, Räikkönen can do anything, except make puzzles. With Finnish forest tranquillity he needs endless time, 1-0 for Vettel.

Kimi: “I haven’t seen him for so long.”

Seb: “He’s honest, he has always been honest, very straight-forward, generally you make a lot of experiences in Formula One with people, sometimes good, sometimes bad, and yeah, honestly I think it’s a very very good quality to have, at least it’s one that I’m looking out for a lot. And he’s honest and, yeah, he’s a nice guy, so…”

Kimi: “Since he has two world titles he annoys me, I have to pause him. No, for me it’s the same, he’s nice, doesn’t talk bullshit, no different from last time we spoke.”

And both love action, especially Kimi, higher, faster, further, crazier. Vettel likes this full throttle Finn. Everything, just not normal.

Kimi: “I mean I wouldn’t do it if I wouldn’t like it, I mean uh, I like to do it, the faster the better, sometimes it goes right, sometimes not, but that’s life.”

Rocker Räikkönen with tattoos on both arms. For Vettel still unthinkable.

Seb: “Yeah, I think you don’t have to be crazy to get yourself a tattoo (…) but it’s a question of taste, I have none, maybe I will have one or more one day, maybe not.”

Which monkey is Kimi, he likes to drink a good drop, expeditions into the animal kingdom and Vettel of course still sober, doesn’t like being a (…).

Kimi: “People have always guessed which one I am, I’m the black one actually, so. The journalists always thought I was the brown one. And you, you like horses, you can ride one of mine.”

Seb: “Of you they show all the cool images and of me just the stupid horse on my head!”

And Seb likes Finns, his trainer Heikki, his predecessor Tommi, on his side for years, and of course this World Champion Räikkönen.

Kimi: “You like them more than I do.”

Seb: “This is the Finns that I know and I like them, so, I don’t know if it’s all the Finns like that, but I like the culture, people are, again, honest, straight-forward, maybe they do not talk as much as people, but I thinks it’s a good thing if you’re honest (…) yeah, sometimes there’s a lot of talk, people talk a lot but they don’t act, and Finnish people seem to act rather than talk.”

(Seb speaking Finnish)

Kimi: “I’ve never seen that, you speak well. Too well. I told you, I have to be careful now, when I insult you you understand everything.”

And a brilliant imitator.

Kimi: “So I was the winner eh? I watched it.”

Seb: “It’s not so easy with you, you speak very seriously, but then you keep a straight face, I can’t stop laughing.”

Kimi: “Somebody thought that I was there.”

And Räikkönen is also worth seeing as video-star.

Seb: “What are they singing?”

Kimi: “Just about…”

Seb: “Kimi is a great guy…”

Kimi: “No no no, it’s about a crash-pilot who keeps crashing cars.”

Seb: “Ha.”

Does the end game stay Vettel 1-0, but then Räikkönen’s counter, loosely in Vettel’s defence: 1-1. Next goal is deciding, Vettel…2-1. Winner again.

Kimi: “Congratulations. Perfect start of the weekend.”

Two World Champions who simply like each other.

Lotus: Raikkonen’s pace expected


Kimi Raikkonen’s performance in the Bahrain Grand Prix is exactly what Lotus was expecting of the Finn this year, according to team owner Gerard Lopez.

Although some questioned the wisdom of the Enstone-based team luring Raikkonen back to F1 after two years away from the sport, Lopez insists that he never had doubts the former world champion would deliver.

“I remember not being happy about the interview where people kept on coming back to saying it’s a gamble,” Lopez told AUTOSPORT. “The guy’s a world champion: he’s not old, he’s fit and he’s motivated.

“I’ve seen him before at teams and I’ve never seen him this way before in terms of his work patterns and his behaviour. So I honestly think he is where he has to be, where he thought he would be and where he expects to be.

“He has always been a natural, and you don’t lose that. If you’ve got the speed you’ve got the speed.

“I could see that he was fit, so we had high hopes that he would deliver, and I think this is confirmation of that choice.”

Lopez is also confident that Lotus has the potential to keep up the rate of development that will be needed to keep itself in contention for victory over the remainder of the season.

“Not many people realise that last year we had as many development packages as Red Bull did, it is just that ours didn’t work,” he said. “The year before they all worked but the starting car wasn’t that good.

“I remember seeing an article that we were the second most improved team of the season, so this year with a good car and developments that will hopefully work we hope to be able to put up a good fight.”

Post-race interview with Kimi: I wanted to win


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Kimi clinched his first podium in only his fourth race since returning to Formula 1 this season at the Bahrain Grand Prix this afternoon. Despite the result however and in typical fashion, the Finn was left thinking about the victory that might have been.

Q: Kimi, your first podium of the season here in Bahrain today; you must be delighted?

KR: I am very happy. At last, we made the podium after a few missed opportunities. We had the car already in the first three races to be up there, but we made some small mistakes and it cost us a lot. Of course I wanted to win today, and I would have been much happier if we had managed to get the victory, but nevertheless it’s a good result and the team deserved it for all their hard work. Hopefully we can put ourselves in this position more often.

Q: How close were you to taking the win?

KR: We weren’t far away from the win at all. I had one chance, but my move on Sebastian (Vettel) did not quite work. That was my only opportunity but I couldn’t take it as I chose the wrong side. Then, my tyres dropped off and that was it. I pretty much knew that was my only shot. Hopefully we can put ourselves in this position more often to have a chance. We have to work hard and improve certain areas of the car and I’m sure we can be up there more often and try to get the win.

Q: Did you have any problems during the race?

KR: We gave ourselves a chance at least and it’s a bit disappointing that we didn’t manage to win, but I made a small mistake at the beginning and lost one place to Felipe (Massa). I had to re-overtake him and that took a little time. Then, I could pass the people quite easily but ultimately it still look too long and as a result we couldn’t win the race.

Q: Is this result a relief after a difficult Chinese Grand Prix last week?

KR: After the last race, when we tried hard and then we failed, I think people probably thought we were a bit stupid. They must have thought the same after yesterday, but our decision turned out to be right one. The team deserves what we achieved here. We have been working hard in the background and I have not been 100 per cent happy with how the weekends have gone so far, but we finally got a proper result for the team so it is an important step.

Q: Did you lose time when trying to overtake Romain early in the race?

KR: Maybe, but there are no team orders and we know the rules – I tried to get past as quickly as I could, but it is difficult with two similar cars. It’s always easy to say what we should have done afterwards, but in the end we were not fast enough to win, so we had to take second.

Bahrain Grand Prix – Results: 2nd for Kimi!

Source: | race report: | twitter | photos

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Sebastian Vettel delivered his first victory of the 2012 Formula 1 season in the Bahrain Grand Prix, and moved into the championship lead in the process – but only after resisting a stern challenge from the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-03

  • Grid: P11
  • Race: P2
  • Best Lap: 1:37.116

Romain Grosjean, E20-04

  • Grid: P7
  • Race: P3
  • Best Lap: 1:36.928

The heat of the desert was broken only by a smattering of rain drops as the teams lined up on the grid for the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix. The pair of E20s began the race on the yellow marked soft compound tyres, a fresh set for Kimi after his unorthodox qualifying strategy and a scrubbed set for Romain.

As the green lights went out, both drivers got off to a flying start. Romain moved to the outside of the slow starting Rosberg, moving up to P4 by the end of the first few corners. Kimi also jumped 3 places to P8, quickly taking yet another position through the middle sector with a brilliant move to hold off Rosberg whilst making a move past Massa and up to P7.

The Finn would then be re-passed by the Brazilian at the first turn on lap 3, as the Ferrari man used his KERS to pull down the inside. A tight battle then ensued through the following few bends, as Kimi eventually got squeezed out and had to concede the place.

By lap 4, Romain had moved up to the podium places by pulling off a fine pass on Webber down the straight, and the proceeded to hunt down Hamilton in P2, closing the gap by almost half a second in that same lap. Kimi meanwhile continued his tussle with Massa, passing his former team-mate on lap 5 and setting off after Button in P6.

The flying Frenchman was in fantastic form in the early stages, surging past Hamilton with a DRS-assisted pass on the pit straight on lap 7 to take P2. Kimi then used the same method to oust Button from P6 just a short distance behind. Quickly pulling away from the Brit, the Finn was quickly onto the back of Alonso and pulled another pass at the same place a lap later to move into P5.

Romain pulled in for his first pit stop of the day on lap 10, opting for a set of the white marked medium compound tyres and re-joining well in front of closest rival Hamilton who had suffered from a slow stop. Kimi followed suit on lap 11, and emerged sporting another set of the soft compound. Both drivers easily maintained their places during the stops, with Kimi moving in front of Hamilton.

On lap 13, Webber became the Finn’s next victim as he sliced up the inside into the left-handed turn 11 to take P4 from the Australian. Romain meanwhile was closing in on Di Resta at between 1-2 seconds per lap, the Scot having yet to stop. Passing through the final turn, the Frenchman regained his rightful P2 position.

On lap 15 Kimi set the fastest time of the day so far, as both drivers continued their impressive charge around the 5.4km circuit. By this stage, Romain occupied P2 with his team-mate close behind in P3.

The field then settled down for a few laps, with both Lotus F1 Team drivers holding station in podium positions; keeping a steady distance behind leader Vettel and edging clear of Webber in P4. By lap 22, the extra pace of Kimi’s soft tyres started to tell, as he closed down on the back of his team-mate (running the slower medium compound), passing the Frenchman on lap 24 using the familiar DRS overtake technique down the pit straight.

No sooner had he got into clean air, than the Finn dived into the pits for his first stint of the day using the medium tyres. Romain followed one lap later on lap 25, taking on another set of the same compound.

Despite now running the theoretically slower white marked tyres, Kimi immediately punched in another fastest lap of the race; closing the gap to Vettel (sporting the soft compound) down to just over 2 seconds. By lap 34 the Finn was within the 1 second DRS zone, and unsettling the German with dummy moves through lap 35.

On the following lap, Kimi made a move down the inside into the first corner, but Vettel defended well as the pair went wheel to wheel and remained in their respective positions. With all the dicing going on ahead Romain had started to close the gap in P3, with less than 10 seconds now covering the trio.

The leading pair dived in for their final stops on lap 40, both electing for a set of medium compound tyres. It was the Red Bull driver who maintained the lead, with Kimi in hot pursuit as they charged out of the pit lane. Romain followed a lap later for the same rubber, and immediately started to pull further in front of closest challenger Webber over the subsequent laps.

With 10 laps to go Romain was running a lonely race in P3, while Kimi maintained the gap to Vettel. As the laps ticked away, the tension in the garage was unbearable until the drivers finally crossed the line; the first podium for the team since Malaysia last year, and the first double podium in over 5 years.

 1.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           1h35:10.990
 2.  Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault              +     3.300
 3.  Grosjean      Lotus-Renault              +    10.100
 4.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +    38.700
 5.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +    55.400
 6.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +    57.500
 7.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +    57.800
 8.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +    58.900
 9.  Massa         Ferrari                    +  1:04.900
10.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +  1:11.400
11.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +  1:12.700
12.  Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes       +  1:16.500
13.  Vergne        Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +  1:30.300
14.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +  1:33.700
15.  Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +     1 lap
16.  Petrov        Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
17.  Kovalainen    Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
18.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +     1 lap
19.  Glock         Marussia-Cosworth          +    2 laps
20.  De la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth               +    2 laps
21.  Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth               +    2 laps
22.  Senna         Williams-Renault           +    3 laps

Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:36.379

World Championship standings, round 4: 
 1.  Vettel        53        1.  Red Bull-Renault          101
 2.  Hamilton      49        2.  McLaren-Mercedes           92
 3.  Webber        48        3.  Lotus-Renault              57
 4.  Button        43        4.  Ferrari                    45
 5.  Alonso        43        5.  Mercedes                   37
 6.  Rosberg       35        6.  Sauber-Ferrari             31
 7.  Raikkonen     34        7.  Williams-Renault           18
 8.  Grosjean      23        8.  Force India-Mercedes       17
 9.  Perez         22        9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari          6
10.  Di Resta      15       
11.  Senna         14       
12.  Kobayashi      9       
13.  Vergne         4       
14.  Maldonado      4       
15.  Hulkenberg     2       
16.  Schumacher     2       
17.  Massa          2       
18.  Ricciardo      2


Raikkonen hopes to fight for more wins

“Of course I wanted to win and would have been much happier in myself if I had won but nevertheless the team deserved what they got and hopefully we can put ourselves in this position more often,. We had the car already in the first three races to be up there but we made some small mistakes and it cost us too much. Today wasn’t far away. I really should have made it but I didn’t so, like I said hopefully we can put ourselves in this position more often to have a chance. But we have to work hard and improve certain areas of the car and I’m sure we can be up there more often and try to get the win.

“We got one try on Sebastian but I couldn’t use it because I chose the wrong side and then my tyres dropped off and that was it. I pretty much knew that was my only chance. We gave ourselves a chance at least and it’s a bit disappointing that we didn’t manage to do it, but I made a small mistake at the beginning, lost one place to a Ferrari and I had to re-overtake him and that took a little time. I could pass the people quite easily but if you look in the end it still look too long and we couldn’t win the race.

“After the last race when we tried hard and then we failed, I think people probably thought we were a bit stupid, but even after yesterday what we did, but it turned out to be right decision. I think the team deserves what we achieved now, we have been working hard in the background and I have not been 100 per cent happy with how the weekends had been gone so far, but we finally got some proper results for the team so it is an important step.”

“Yeah, but there are no team orders, we know the rules – I tried to get past as quickly as I can, but it is always easy with two similar cars so. It’s always easy afterwards to say we should have done that but in the end we were not fast enough to win so we had to take second.”

Team quotes:

Kimi Räikkönen – 2nd: “It’s a great result for the team and we deserve it as everyone has been working very hard. To be honest, I’m slightly disappointed we didn’t take the win because we had the pace. I only had one chance to overtake Sebastian (Vettel) and unfortunately I chose the wrong side to try and get past. If I hadn’t made a small mistake at the start and allowed Felipe (Massa) to get through then maybe it would have been a different story, as we spent quite a lot of time fighting with him. At the end of the day, it’s good to have both cars on the podium, especially after last race which didn’t go to plan, but I honestly think we could have taken the victory today.”

Romain Grosjean – 3rd: “It’s a great feeling to get my first podium, and I’m really proud of the whole team for doing an incredible job today. We’ve known all season how quick the car can be, but with such a tight field any small mistakes can make a huge difference. Today I think we got everything right, and we’ve finally been able to prove how competitive we are. Last week I was aiming for my first points, this week I was hoping for top five, but here we are on the podium so who knows where we can go from here! We can be very happy with what we’ve achieved today; hopefully we can now head to the Mugello test and find that last bit of to push us right to the top.”

Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “It was a great team performance today and I’m delighted for everyone, both here in the paddock and back at Enstone. The first three races were very frustrating, as we knew we were capable of a result like this. Until now, small details have hindered our performance, so it’s almost a relief to finally show what we are capable of. We took a bit of a gamble on strategy and I’m pleased to say it paid off. Both drivers put in a fantastic performance, and to have two cars not just on the podium but so closely matched all through the race demonstrates what a strong line-up we have. I’m immensely proud of what we’ve achieved today.”

Alan Permane, Director of Trackside Operations: “We’ve been saying over the last few races that podium finishes were on their way and today we’ve proved that. To come from eleventh to score a strong second, challenging for the win was an awesome performance from Kimi and shows that the E20 is a superb race car. For Romain to match Kimi’s pace and finish just seven seconds behind him despite having fewer new tyres is a comparably impressive performance. Our race strategy calls today were not as tricky as we’ve seen in other races. We knew we had to make three stops and it became clear as the race went on that our main question was could we beat Sebastian (Vettel)? We gave it a good go. It wasn’t a perfect performance this weekend – we weren’t happy with our performance on the soft tyres in qualifying – but it’s clear we have a car which has the pace to win races. “



Press conference:


Kimi: we’ve learnt our lessons


Kimi Raikkonen says Lotus is ready to apply the valuable lessons it learned at the Chinese Grand Prix – where he tumbled down the order in the closing stages because of tyre degradation.

The Finn had been running in second place towards the end phase of the Shanghai race, but his two-stop strategy backfired when he could not hold off the cars behind him. He eventually finished 14th.

But ahead of the Bahrain race, where he starts 11th after electing not to use up a set of fresh tyres to get him through to Q3, Raikkonen says he is optimistic Lotus will get things right this time out.

“We understand a little bit more,” he said about tyre strategy. “We did a small mistake to stop too early, but it is not like we didn’t know the risk – because we did.

“Maybe I could have gone a bit longer on the second set, but I didn’t have a very good understanding of when the tyre was going to drop off a lot. Looking at the others some of them ran very long on the last set and that was interesting, so we took the chance and it happened.”

Raikkonen remains open-minded about whether or not the Lotus tyre strategy will pay off, as a number of other teams also elected to keep fresh rubber rather than go all out for better grid positions.

“You want to be higher up, but sometimes you have to take the chance,” he explained. “We didn’t go through but we start 11th with a new set of tyres, so looking at Romain [Grosjean] in seventh there is not much difference with the new tyres. We will see after the race if it works out or not.”

Raikkonen was unsure, however, about what was possible for him in the race – judging by his position on the grid and the performance of Lotus over the weekend.

“It is difficult to say from yesterday but we didn’t destroy the tyres and really in the last race it is not that our car is worse than others, it is just that we ran too long with the tyres,” he said.

“I will see how it works out but for sure this race is harder on tyres than any other race. I don’t know, we will try and do the best that we can do.

“We don’t know what happened to the others and how fast they are in the race, so you cannot just say that you are probably going to finish at this distance.

“In the past you knew what was going to happen in the normal race conditions, but now it is different so hopefully we will be okay.”

Kimi: I think we’re in a pretty good position


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Qualifying may not have gone exactly to plan for Kimi at the Bahrain International Circuit this afternoon, but as the man himself states, the most important factor is being in the best position for the race…

Q: Kimi, an unexpected result in qualifying today; what was the thinking behind your chosen strategy?

KR: We could easily have gone through to the final session with another run; the pace is there in the car and it felt good to drive. However, managing the tyres will be the key tomorrow so we thought it was worth taking the risk to only do one lap in Q2 and save fresh sets of tyres for the race. It was a gamble that didn’t get us through to the final session, but it will hopefully be a strategy which pays off after 57 laps tomorrow.

Q: Were you confident after your flying lap that you would make it through to the pole position shootout?

KR: We knew it was going to be close and of course we would ideally have liked to have been in Q2; we always want to be as high up the grid as possible. We were fairly certain that we would make it, but at the end of the day there were two options and we went for the one which we believe will deliver the best result on Sunday. Looking at the pace on the soft tyres I don’t think we’re at a big disadvantage starting further back. There are no points for qualifying, so let’s see what happens tomorrow.

Q: Is there a noticeable difference between the fresh rubber and a scrubbed set of tyres?

KR: You can definitely feel the difference, although it’s difficult to say exactly how much it’s worth in terms of lap time. It will give us an advantage off the line and through the first lap especially, so we have a good chance to make up the places we may have lost in qualifying at the start.

Q: Does having a grid position which is slightly lower than you would have expected alter your strategy for the race?

KR: Of course, we have to adapt our plans according to where we are but this is also something that changes throughout the race depending on our pace, what the cars around us are doing and of course things like weather and safety car periods. Strategy is never set in stone, so we have to have the flexibility to make to most of each situation. The good news is that starting outside the top 10 we can choose which tyres we start on which will also help.

Q: Do you think the E20 can manage the degradation on the soft tyres better than some of the cars in front?

KR: It’s hard to say. We have a rough idea of where we are compared to the other teams from testing yesterday but you never know what programme they were running so it’s all just speculation really. We came very close to pulling off a longer stint than anyone around us in China and our car is more suited the warmer weather here, so hopefully that’s a good sign. Obviously we took a risk there that didn’t pay off, but we now have a very good understanding of the tyres. I think we’re in a pretty good position.

Q: How are you feeling about the race tomorrow?

KR: I’m feeling pretty good. The thing about this season so far is that it’s been so close and so unpredictable that it’s pointless making any kind of guesses. Anything can happen out there, so we’ll just get our heads down and make the most of the options we have. We’re just as competitive here as we have been so far this season, so let’s see what we can do.

Bahrain Grand Prix – Qualifying Results: P11

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Kimi Räikkönen, E20-03

Position: [Q1] P9 [Q2] P11
Best Time: [Q1] 1:34.552 [Q2] 1:33.789
Laps Completed: [Q1] 3 [Q2] 3

Kimi counting on race tyre gamble: “We took the risk to try to save one set of tyres and didn’t go out afterwards when we could easily get in [to Q3]. We thought it was worth it to save the tyres, so we’ll see what happens. It will be more difficult [with tyres] here than it was in China, but I think everybody has the same issues. That’s one of the reasons why we didn’t go through [to Q3], but hopefully it will pay off tomorrow.”

A two hour break following this morning’s free practice session provided a good opportunity for the drivers to relax and shelter from the intense Bahrain heat.

As Q1 got underway, rival teams flooded out onto the circuit to complete early runs in the session. The E20s by contrast remained firmly parked in the Lotus F1 Team garage until the mid-point of the session; a tactic that certainly proved successful.

With a single flying lap each, Kimi and Romain leapt straight to the summit of the leader board; the Finn taking top spot briefly before the Frenchman eclipsed his team mate’s time by an impressive 0.4 seconds.

Despite completing just one run apiece on the slower, white marked medium compound Pirelli tyres, the team decided that both drivers had set sufficiently competitive times to see them through to Q2. As the chequered flag flew, both Romain and Kimi had in fact done more than enough; sailing into the second session in P4 and P9 respectively.

With 3 minutes elapsed in Q2, Kimi flew out of the box for his first single lap run on the soft compound tyres. The Finn was clearly pushing hard, and went fastest momentarily before gradually slipping to P6 as others improved on his time. Romain completed a 2 lap stint, but was not as happy as his team-mate; finishing his initial run in P11.

Both drivers returned immediately to the garage for a fresh set of soft tyres as the team weighed up whether a second run would be required. Satisfied with his pace, the Finn remained parked for the remainder of the session. Romain on the other hand was keen to improve on his initial showing, and emerged with just 3 minutes of running time remaining.

The move paid off for the Frenchman, who produced a stunning lap to jump 8 places up to P3; easily making it through to the pole position shootout. Kimi by contrast was an unfortunate victim of the final cut, missing out by fractions of a second as his time was bettered at the very last minute to demote the Finn to a starting slot of P11 for tomorrow’s race.

 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1m32.422s  
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1m32.520s  +  0.098
 3.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1m32.637s  +  0.215
 4.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1m32.711s  +  0.289
 5.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1m32.821s  +  0.399
 6.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m32.912s  +  0.490
 7.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault          1m33.008s  +  0.586
 8.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1m33.394s  +  0.972
 9.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                No time
10.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   No time
11.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault          1m33.789s  + 1.367
12.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1m33.806s  +  1.384
13.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   1m33.807s  +  1.385
14.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1m33.912s  +  1.490
15.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault       1m34.017s  +  1.595
16.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault       1m36.132s  +  3.710
17.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1m34.865s  +  2.443
18.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m35.014s  +  2.592
19.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault       1m35.823s  +  3.401
20.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth      1m37.683s  +  5.261
21.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth           1m37.883s  +  5.461
22.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault       No time
23.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth      1m37.905s  +  5.483
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           1m38.314s  +  5.892

Team quotes:

Kimi Raikkonen – 11th: “We had the speed today and we could easily have gone through to the final session with another run, but we thought it was worth taking the risk to only do one lap in Q2 and save fresh sets of tyres for the race. Managing the tyres will be a priority tomorrow, so while it was a gamble that didn’t get us through to the final session it will hopefully be a strategy which pays off in the race. We knew it was going to be close and of course we always want to be as high up the grid as possible, but there were two options and we went for the one which we believe will deliver the best result on Sunday. There are no points given out on Saturday, so let’s see what happens tomorrow.”

Bahrain Grand Prix – Final Practice Results

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With one final chance to get the cars up to speed before qualifying, Free Practice 3 at the Bahrain International Circuit was a busy 60 minutes for the team. Setup tweaks, practice pit-stops and analysis of the different tyre compounds kept the crew busy, while the drivers put in a solid performance to see both cars into the top 10

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-03

  • Position: P7
  • Best Time: 1:33.976
  • Laps Completed: 14

Romain Grosjean, E20-04

  • Position: P9
  • Best Time: 1:34.401
  • Laps Completed: 16

Another warm start at the Bahrain International Circuit with a slight tail wind down the main straight as Kimi and Romain departed the garage for their install laps. As usual, the team opted to head out as soon as the green flags were waved, aiming to maximise track time before qualifying begins this afternoon.

Both E20s were sporting matching sets of the white marked medium compound Pirelli tyres, with a single lap to test the systems followed by the customary oil dips upon their return to the pit lane. With a fair amount of dust hanging in the air, the crew were out in the boxes with ‘leaf blowers’ removing the sand to give the drivers more traction for any practice pit stop pull-aways.

With just under 15 minutes elapsed, Kimi lead Romain out onto the circuit for the first runs of the day, beginning with practice starts at the end of the pit lane. Scrubbed mediums were the rubber of choice for both drivers as Romain set the early pace with his first flying lap, narrowly edging out his team-mate who had previously topped the times. Not to be out done, the 2007 World Champion immediately responded with an improved time as the pair traded places at the sharp end of the leader board.

Returning to base after a pair of initial 4 lap stints, it was the Frenchman who sat atop the standings with the Finn just behind. Kimi will have been glad for the dust removal strategy as he carried out a practice pull away before being wheeled back into his garage. Minor setup tweaks to both cars as the team experimented with different settings for the morning’s conditions.

At the halfway stage in the session, Romain sat in P2 with Kimi P5; just 0.8s covering the top 8 in a tightly packed field. After a quick turnaround, the Finn charged down the pit lane for his second run, followed shortly afterwards by his opposite number. 4 and 5 lap stints respectively for Kimi and Romain on medium tyres this time around, with data and setup analysis the main priority.

Another set of practice pull-aways for both drivers, before a short break to take shelter from the sun and make a few final setup adjustments. With just over 10 minutes left to run, the track transformed from a deserted stretch of tarmac to a hive of activity as the teams pushed for a final few laps and the all-important data that goes with them.

Kimi and Romain were two of the first to emerge, with both trying out the yellow marked soft compound tyres for the first time during the session. Their final stints included two practice pit-stops for each car; one mid-run and one at the end of the run, putting the mechanics through their paces before Sunday’s race. Meanwhile on track, the pace of both drivers was solid, as both E20s nestled themselves inside the top 10.

 1.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes              1m33.254s            14
 2.  Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault      1m33.401s  + 0.147s  14
 3.  Mark Webber         Red Bull-Renault      1m33.663s  + 0.409s  15
 4.  Lewis Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      1m33.782s  + 0.528s  16
 5.  Michael Schumacher  Mercedes              1m33.796s  + 0.542s  16
 6.  Jenson Button       McLaren-Mercedes      1m33.899s  + 0.645s  14
 7.  Kimi Raikkonen      Lotus-Renault         1m33.976s  + 0.722s  14
 8.  Daniel Ricciardo    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m34.197s  + 0.943s  14
 9.  Romain Grosjean     Lotus-Renault         1m34.401s  + 1.147s  16
10.  Fernando Alonso     Ferrari               1m34.895s  + 1.641s  11
11.  Pastor Maldonado    Williams-Renault      1m34.918s  + 1.664s  12
12.  Jean-Eric Vergne    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m34.977s  + 1.723s  12
13.  Sergio Perez        Sauber-Ferrari        1m35.067s  + 1.813s  17
14.  Kamui Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari        1m35.128s  + 1.874s  14
15.  Paul di Resta       Force India-Mercedes  1m35.336s  + 2.082s  22
16.  Felipe Massa        Ferrari               1m35.536s  + 2.282s  15
17.  Bruno Senna         Williams-Renault      1m35.623s  + 2.369s  16
18.  Heikki Kovalainen   Caterham-Renault      1m35.694s  + 2.440s  19
19.  Nico Hulkenberg     Force India-Mercedes  1m35.773s  + 2.519s  21
20.  Vitaly Petrov       Caterham-Renault      1m36.532s  + 3.278s  17
21.  Charles Pic         Marussia-Cosworth     1m37.267s  + 4.013s  18
22.  Timo Glock          Marussia-Cosworth     1m37.654s  + 4.400s  18
23.  Pedro de la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth          1m38.973s  + 5.719s  11
24.  Narain Karthikeyan  HRT-Cosworth          1m39.221s  + 5.967s  9

Kimi – “I think the grid will be very tight again”


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Fresh from the cockpit, Kimi gives us his thoughts on tyre degradation, track conditions at the Bahrain International Circuit, and his predictions for qualifying on Saturday.

Q: Kimi, first of all it seems tyre degradation has been a key factor already; how did you find it out there today?

KR: It’s probably higher than we’ve seen in other places but of course it’s the same for everybody. It makes things a bit tricky and managing the tyres will be important, but we’ll just have to work around it. The soft tyre is clearly faster over a single lap but in terms of a race distance I think it’s too early to say which will be more useful; we’ll have to look at all the data to see how it will play out.

Q: Is there anything you can do from inside the cockpit to help preserve the tyres?

KR: As a driver there are some things you can do to help keep the tyres in good condition in terms of your driving style, but it’s mainly about the setup of the car. Unfortunately when they go they go, and there’s not a lot you can do about it. No matter how you drive you can’t suddenly make them last a significant amount longer than they’re designed to; small differences over a long run have more an effect, but it’s not like night and day.

Q: The team had some issues with the tyres on the cooler days in China; are the conditions here better suited to the E20?

KR: I think we prefer to have these kind of temperatures, but then again so will most teams. In China we had a few issues getting the tyres working when it was colder, the main thing now will be almost the opposite; managing them over the longer runs. We would rather have it this way though, for sure.

Q: What about the track itself? Do you think there will be much surface evolution over the weekend?

KR: The track was surprisingly good, even from the early laps. There wasn’t much change during the day so I think it will stay reasonably stable through the weekend. The main thing that could affect it is if the wind changes direction.

Q: A look at the time sheets seems to suggest there is still work to be done here; are you feeling confident for tomorrow’s qualifying session?

KR: Our pace today doesn’t look that great if you look at the times, but then we were in a much worse position this time last week and still had decent speed so I wouldn’t ready too much into that. I think the grid will be very tight again like in China, but we’ll do our best as always and see where we end up.

Bahrain Grand Prix – Friday Practice Results

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Going the Distance – Bahrain Grand Prix, Free Practice 2 Report

The Lotus F1 Team drivers put some good mileage under their wheels in the second of today’s sessions this afternoon, with setup work the order of the day under the blistering Bahrain sun.

At 14:00 local time on the dot, the pit lane opened for the second round of Formula 1 action here at the Bahrain International circuit today. Both drivers completed short first runs on the white marked medium compound tyres, Kimi notching up 4 laps and Romain 3 tours of the 5.4km circuit before heading back to base for practise pull aways.

15 minutes and a few setup tweaks later, the pair were back at out on track on the same tyres as used in the previous run. This time Romain put in the most laps of the two, racking up 5 in comparison to Kimi’s 3.

The Finn’s third run of the session saw the first appearance of the yellow marked soft tyres as he emerged from the garage with just under an hour left to run. Romain followed 10 minutes later, again on the softer of the two tyre compounds, with each driver recording 3 laps apiece.

At the halfway stage of the session, Romain sat just inside the top 10 in P8, with Kimi down in P18. Setup changes had been the order of the day thus far, with a variety of different options being assessed.

Entering the second half of running and it was Kimi who once again lead the team back into the on track action, completing a 4 lap stint on the soft tyres and improving his time in the process. Romain, having been in deep discussion with his engineers, waited patiently for his next opportunity to throw his E20 around the circuit, emerging with just over 30 minutes left to run sporting the same compound of tyres.

Kimi’s was only a brief break, with fresh rubber bolted on – medium compound this time – and a practice start as he re-joined the fray. Longer stints this time around for both drivers; 11 and 15 laps added to the Finn’s and Frenchman’s totals respectively before diving into the pits for a pair of pit-stop simulations.

Each driver headed straight back onto the track having put the mechanics through their paces; Kimi on another set of soft tyres and Romain on the medium compound. As the session entered its final 10 minutes, this would prove to be the final chance for the team to analyse the E20’s performance this afternoon.

 1. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1m32.816s            35 
 2. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1m33.262s  + 0.446   26 
 3. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1m33.525s  + 0.709   28 
 4. Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1m33.747s  + 0.931   26 
 5. Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1m33.862s  + 1.046   31 
 6. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m34.246s  + 1.430   28 
 7. Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1m34.411s  + 1.595   34 
 8. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1m34.449s  + 1.633   31 
 9. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1m34.615s  + 1.799   32 
10. Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1m34.893s  + 2.077   34 
11. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m34.895s  + 2.079   29 
12. Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1m34.941s  + 2.125   29 
13. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1m35.183s  + 2.367   33 
14. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m35.229s  + 2.413   26 
15. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1m35.459s  + 2.643   38 
16. Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1m35.913s  + 3.097   32 
17. Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1m35.968s  + 3.152   35 
18. Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1m36.169s  + 3.353   30 
19. Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1m36.587s  + 3.771   32 
20. Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1m37.803s  + 4.987   33 
21. Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1m37.812s  + 4.996   28 
22. Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1m39.649s  + 6.833   27

Team quotes:

Kimi Raikkonen – 13th: “The soft tyres felt better today but we have to work out which tyre will work best over a stint duration. It’s too early to draw any conclusion and we have to look at the data. At the moment, it doesn’t look like the difference will be night and day. The track conditions were surprisingly good straight away in first practice today, and it didn’t feel like a massive difference in the second session. Hopefully the wind does not get up overnight and blow sand on to the track. Tyre degradation should be interesting. There are things you can do as a driver to minimise this, but you can do more with the set-up of the car. I hope we find a good solution.”

James Allison, Technical Director: “There’s a pattern emerging over the first four races where it seems that the programme we run on a Friday is different from that run by other teams, so you can’t draw too many conclusions merely from looking at our position on the timing monitors. The key for this weekend’s race will be making the tyres work in the heat and we’re encouraged by our pace using both tyres with both cars on high fuel today. We ran comparisons of our upgrade components and we have plenty of data to make an assessment.”

First practice:

What a Difference a Week Makes – Bahrain Grand Prix, Free Practice 1 Report

 1. Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1m33.572            11
 2. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1m33.877s  + 0.305  21
 3. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1m34.150s  + 0.578  26
 4. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1m34.249s  + 0.677  23
 5. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1m34.277s  + 0.705  14
 6. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   1m34.344s  + 0.772  26
 7. Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1m34.483s  + 0.911  17
 8. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1m34.552s  + 0.980  22
 9. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault          1m34.609s  + 1.037  17
10. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault          1m34.847s  + 1.275  20
11. Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1m35.024s  + 1.452  22
12. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault       1m35.268s  + 1.696  24
13. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1m35.436s  + 1.864  21
14. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault       1m35.497s  + 1.925  24
15. Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1m35.719s  + 2.147  19
16. Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1m35.929s  + 2.357  24
17. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m36.195s  + 2.623  20
18. Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault       1m36.330s  + 2.758  11
19. Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault       1m36.484s  + 2.912  18
20. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m36.591s  + 3.019  20
21. Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth      1m37.467s  + 3.895  17
22. Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth      1m38.006s  + 4.434  18
23. Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth           1m38.877s  + 5.305  19
24. Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           1m39.996s  + 6.424  23

Thursday in Bahrain

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From a fan’s perspective, the Chinese Grand Prix was one of the most entertaining races in recent memory. With a variety of strategies, wheel-to-wheel racing throughout the field, a plethora of overtakes and a closely bunched grid few could have expected more from Round 3 of the World Championship.

And so we move on to Bahrain, and an interesting prospect in store once more. Starting with the front-runners last time out, Mercedes were dominant in Shanghai and will look to continue that form. The German marque proved doubters wrong by managing their tyres well in the warm conditions, although here in Sakhir the temperatures are much higher so it remains to be seen how well they can make the Pirelli rubber last. Schumacher in particular will be out to make up for a disappointing end to his last race after early retirement.

McLaren had another strong result with two drivers on the podium, and still remain in the majority of minds as the team to beat. Red Bull managed to put a disappointing qualifying session behind them to bring both cars in the top five, and while a double points finish may be the bare minimum expected from the World Champions, it would be foolish to write off their chances at any venue.

Once again Lotus F1 Team demonstrated that even at circuits which don’t necessarily suit the E20 we have a competitive package; one which could well have come away with a podium if things had gone according to plan in China. The team is pushing harder than ever to demonstrate that potential with a clean weekend…

Kimi’s credentials at Sahkir circuit:

  • The Bahrain International Circuit is one Kimi knows well having achieved four consecutive podium finishes between 2005-2008, his best being 2nd place in 2008.

French Finesse, Finnish Ferocity – The RS27 in Bahrain

Q: At this stage in the season can you see any difference in the way that Kimi and Romain use the engine?

They are both the kind of drivers that understand how an F1 engine works when going from full lift-off to full-throttle and they push us a lot to have what they need to be confident when exiting a corner. I’d say that Romain’s engines have a bit of an easier life than Kimi’s. The French side of Romain is just amazing when he is upshifting – he is very smooth! His engines spend almost half the time at the limiter than Kimi’s units, make of that what you will about Kimi’s character…!

Kimi – “Bahrain I have no issues with anything – it’s the same as it was last time I was here,” he said. “Everybody is racing and I am okay with it. For me it is just like any other race weekend – nothing has really changed. I’m fine [with the security].”

Kimi: Bahrain like any other race


Kimi Raikkonen says Bahrain will be just like any other race weekend – and that his focus will therefore be on points and podiums rather than protests.

The Finn said he had no concerns over safety at the event, and no issues with the grand prix going ahead.

“Bahrain I have no issues with anything – it’s the same as it was last time I was here,” he said. “Everybody is racing and I am okay with it.

“For me it is just like any other race weekend – nothing has really changed. I’m fine [with security].”

Raikkonen predicted the humid temperatures of Bahrain would suit Lotus, downplaying talk of his two-stop strategy in China being either a mistake or evidence that it was hard on its tyres.

“We didn’t really want it that way, but what happened happened,” Raikkonen said of his tyre-derived slide from second to 14th in China.

“We tried but we couldn’t make it work. The tyres actually lasted pretty well, but it looks much worse when you have people with much fresher tyres behind. We ran out though because we ran too long, not because the car was bad.

“Hopefully it will be better for us to have hot weather than cold – we’ll see over the weekend – but I’m happier in this [temperature] than I was last weekend.

“Hopefully we can be up there and fight for good points and podiums. We’ve tried to get good results, but [they haven't been] as good as we wanted so far.

“Small mistakes in qualifying can cost you a lot. No one team is dominating and the races aren’t straightforward, and that makes it a bit more tricky. It also makes it more interesting, and hopefully gives us a better chance.”

F3 team manager: no one more talented than Kimi


Formula 3 team manager of Double R Racing Anthony Hieatt has worked with a number of gifted young drivers but praises Kimi Räikkönen as the most talented.

Hieatt was involved in organizing Räikkönen’s F3 test in 2000. The world champion never competed at F3 level, but moved up directly to Formula 1.

“Kimi took four rounds to get up to speed. It is typical for him – he did not say much at all, and then he went to the F1 test,” Hieatt remembers in an feature.

“I do not think that to date there has ever lived a driver who has more natural talent than Kimi,” Hieatt says.

Vettel’s friendship with Kimi

Source: | Translation courtesy of OSX

Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel are close friends. They spend as much time together as they can.

“I like the fact that he’s really honest”, Vettel says.

“He’s always been like that. Very outspoken. I have met a lot of people. Some are nice and some aren’t. But honesty is a good quality. At least for me it’s important. And Kimi is very honest. And he’s a good guy.”

“I try to spend as much time as I can with Kimi. Last year we played badminton. We’re both very busy so we could only play once. I lost.”

At the Chinese GP the two entertained each other and the surrounding media by assembling puzzles and playing board soccer.

Raikkonen efficient in car feedback

Source: | Translation courtesy of reppo

Race engineer Mark Slade praises Kimi Räikkönen’s skills in improvement of the car’s settings. Slade has worked as race engineer for Raikkonen in McLaren and Lotus.

“Kimi’s feedback is excellent. He is one of the most punctual drivers with whom I have ever worked with. He makes my job very easy. He tells you what is wrong with the car and I will offer a solutions to fix it. We will together decide which is the approach we choose, and then implement it,” Slade said on MTV3’s live TV broadcast from Shanghai paddock.

Taciturnity is a distinct advantage when improvements must be found in the car.

“With Kimi we get the car to the best setup faster than with some of the other drivers, who speaks perhaps more, but are not able to analyze at the same precision, what in the car is right or wrong,” Slade says.

Kimi: a podium should be possible


After a weekend which came agonisingly close to producing a real result for Kimi in China, the Finn puts the past behind him and looks ahead to his next opportunity for glory at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Q: The Chinese Grand Prix was full of action; how was it from your position?

KR: It was good racing but we ran out of tyre performance during the final stint. I felt comfortable in the car and I could push well, but we lost out in the end. I was not able to get past Felipe (Massa) in the middle part of the race, and I wasn’t able to keep Sebastian (Vettel) behind me, but there is still good speed in the car.

Q: What happened when Sebastian got past you?

KR: I had been keeping him behind me, but finally my tyres were too far gone for me to keep him there. I went wide and then I was on the marbles. I had very little traction on the loose stuff and because it was so close a lot of cars went past me. It was then too late to make another stop so it was frustrating. It was the strategy we chose, and I wouldn’t have been fighting for second if we’d gone for a three stop. Maybe we should have run a longer second stint, as that worked for Romain. We learnt a lot about the tyres.

Q: Are you frustrated the strategy chosen didn’t work?

KR: It looked the best one for us and it worked for Romain. If we had the same information again, we’d probably try the same approach. It didn’t work, but you don’t know these things unless you try them. We will now know better for next time. We were pretty close to finishing on the podium. We didn’t. That’s racing.

Q: You were racing wheel-to-wheel at times during the race. How was that?

KR: It is what I missed when I was rallying, and it’s good to be racing against other cars like that. It was very close at times, but it’s called racing so that’s what you do. I thought it must have looked good on television for anyone watching. I look forward to racing more like that this season.

Q: The team wasn’t able to maximise the latest upgrade package at Shanghai – how frustrating was that for you as a driver?

KR: We had a lot of parts but it was wet on Friday morning and very cold in the afternoon. We went back to most of the old spec for Saturday as we knew how it worked. Qualifying was okay, but there was a bigger gap to pole which wasn’t what we wanted. We didn’t make the car faster which some others did with theirs. The E20 still feels good to drive, but we just need to get a little bit more speed. Hopefully we will find it in Bahrain.

Q: What are your thoughts of the Bahrain International Circuit?

KR: I don’t think it will present any particular problems for us. It’s likely to be quite hot and our car didn’t like the cold so much when we were in China so maybe the heat will suit us better. The track has a mixture of corners and it’s quite fun to race on. There are some opportunities to overtake so let’s see what happens.

Q: It’s another circuit where you have finished on the podium…

KR: I have had a second and three third places in Bahrain which is okay. It is good to race there. We won’t know how strong the car will be until we get there. Maybe we will get the upgrades on the car to work properly and we will be able to go faster than in China. Let’s see.

Q: How have you enjoyed the first three races?

KR: It’s not that different to what it was like before. I don’t like the travel so much as the first races are so far away from home, but soon we will be racing in Europe. When you’re at the track and in the car you know what you have to do, so it doesn’t matter so much about the other stuff. When I’m in the car it feels good, and we’re all working to get faster.

Q: Do you think the team is capable of a strong result in Bahrain?

KR: A podium should be possible and I think it has been at all the races we’ve been at so far. We won’t know exactly how good the car is until we get there, but we don’t expect any problems.

Post-race interview with Kimi


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A valiant drive from Kimi saw him gamble on a strategy which came so close to producing a great result, but ultimately resulted in a disappointment. The Finn talks us through his thoughts on risk taking, the E20’s performance, and a tough race in China.

Q: Kimi, with about ten laps to go things were looking so promising; it’s amazing what difference a couple of laps can make…

KR: It’s a shame the race ended the way it did. We tried to run a two stop strategy as in theory it was the fastest option, but we just ran out of grip at the end as the tyres faded away. We spent a long time stuck behind Felipe (Massa) and just couldn’t get close enough down the straight to pass. In the end I don’t know how different the result would have been as once the tyres fell away it was difficult to stay on track, but it was a risk we took and it unfortunately it didn’t pay off.

Q: Do you think it was worth taking a risk like that when you found yourself at the front of the field to try and potentially pull something out of the bag?

KR: Taking chances can go one way or the other, that’s why it’s a risk. We had two options and we opted for a certain strategy which we thought would work out and potentially bring us a good result but it didn’t work out that way. We knew it was going to be a close call and maybe it wasn’t the right decision, but that’s just the way things go sometimes.

Q: It was heartbreaking watching the events that unfolded in the final stage of the race; talk us through it from your view?

KR: Up until the last few laps things were going well; we had good pace and a chance for a good result, but when the tyres give up it’s almost impossible to compete at the same level. When Sebastian (Vettel) got past it all went downhill very quickly; I got out onto the marbles and had no control of the car. From there it was just a case of trying to stay on the road. I think we lost something like ten places in one lap; unfortunately there was nothing we could do to stop it.

Q: Your pace at the start of the race, and even on the worn tyres before they faded away seemed to be strong; how did the car feel today?

KR: The car was very good which is the encouraging thing we can take from today. We definitely had the speed and if we hadn’t been caught up behind other cars it could have been a different story, but you never know. There’s always room for improvement and we’ll learn from this weekend to go for a better performance at the next race.