Source: autocar.co.uk | by Alan Henry
Kimi Räikkönen is the man most likely to win any of the remaining grands prix this season. And paradoxically could well win not a single race. Stick with my logic, please, for another few sentences. Then think about it and tell me if I am wrong.
The thing about Kimi, more than any of his contemporaries, is that he is a totally self-contained operator, almost completely impervious to psychological pressure from his rivals. You can tell from his wrinkle-free face that this is a competitor touched neither by elation or disappointment. On his day he is a formidable competitor out of the Häkkinen/Schumacher mould, but when things go wrong he remains utterly impassive.
Reading his mind was never difficult, as a friend inside McLaren confirms: “During his time with us, you could be absolutely certain by ten o’clock on a Friday morning in the pit lane whether he would deliver a magical performance in the race, or whether we should pack up the car in the transporter and take it straight back to the factory.”
Kimi also has a reputation for speaking straight from the chest, something which even took Ron Dennis slightly aback at one point in their relationship. But Kimi is a winner; Romain Grosjean may have a bright future, but Kimi could be the first Lotus world champion since Mario Andretti.
Enjoy this colourful Kimi Raikkonen Lotus F1 desktop this summer:
Despite having a weekend to forget in Monaco, Kimi considers the positives of another points finish and the importance it could have come the end of the year…
Q: Kimi, P9 was not exactly what you were aiming for this weekend; how was the race from your perspective?
KR: It wasn’t the best but sometimes that’s how it goes. We’ve been at the front all season so far and obviously we weren’t today, but Monaco is always a bit different. We got caught up in traffic a few times over the weekend, and I don’t think we really saw the true pace of the car today.
Q: You weren’t entirely happy with the car over the first two days of running; how did it feel today?
KR: At the start of the race the car felt very good. Eventually the tyres started to drop off a bit but we had done quite a few laps on them by that point. The soft tyres were a bit more tricky, especially in traffic and when the temperature dropped as it was hard to keep the temperature where it should be. Overall though the car felt ok today.
Q: You stayed out for quite a while in the first stint; what was the reason behind that decision?
KR: It was a difficult situation. We were expecting rain, and it didn’t make sense to change to another set of dry tyres if we may have to come in again for wets. In the end it didn’t really rain at all, apart from right at the end in certain parts of the track, but it was never enough to think about putting the intermediates on the car.
Q: Not the best race for the team; what can we take from today?
KR: We can’t say we achieved what we hoped for this weekend and it’s obviously disappointing, but if we can have a bad race like this and still take three points it’s not the end of the world. Picking up these points when we’re not at our best could make a big difference at the end of the season.
A disappointing end to a promising weekend for the team at Monaco this afternoon, with Romain’s race ending just moments after it had started and Kimi having to use all his experience to attain a top 10 finish.
Nerves in the paddock were at a fever pitch as the red lights went out to signal the start of the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix. After a few surprises in qualifying, all eyes were on the first lap to see how the field would emerge from the treacherous turn one.
Unfortunately for Romain, his race was over before he had even reached that point. A slightly slow start followed almost immediately by a clash with Michael Schumacher resulted in the Frenchman heading into the first corner sideways with his left rear suspension collapsed.
The only silver lining to a significantly sized cloud over the team’s weekend of course was that Kimi subsequently profited from his team-mate’s misfortune to move up into P7, having made a solid getaway and managing to avoid the melee.
A relatively calm opening phase of the race – setting aside the first lap fracas – saw Kimi in an intense battle with Michael Schumacher; the German driver lunging at the Finn into the chicane on several occasions only to see his attempts thwarted.
On lap 30, Kimi made his first trip to the pits for a set of the yellow marked soft tyres. With closest challenger Michael Schumacher choosing to run longer, the German managed to jump the Finn in the stops, along with the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne and Force India of Paul Di Resta.
More bad luck was to follow for the 2007 World Champion, as an altercation with Sergio Perez through La Rascasse cost him another place; this time to Nico Hulkenberg. Although the Sauber driver subsequently received a drive through penalty for his part in the incident, this made little difference to Kimi’s race.
Michael Schumacher’s retirement on lap 66 promoted the sole remaining E20 back into the points, and with a light shower – predicted to arrive at various stages throughout the race – finally materialising with just 8 laps remaining, there did seem to be a glimmer of hope that the Finn may be able to recover lost ground in the adverse conditions.
Although this failed to arrive, one man who pre-empted a potential downpour was Jean-Eric Vergne; switching to the intermediate tyres and quickly falling backwards. This handed Kimi another position, where he remained to eventually come home in a rather lonely P9.
Pos--Driver-------Team-----------------------Time 1. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1h46:06.557 2. Rosberg Mercedes + 0.643 3. Alonso Ferrari + 0.947 4. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 1.343 5. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 4.101 6. Massa Ferrari + 6.195 7. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 41.500 8. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 42.500 9. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 44.000 10. Senna Williams-Renault + 44.500 11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap 12. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap 13. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap 14. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap 15. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps Fastest lap: Perez, 1:17.298 Not classified/retirements: Button McLaren-Mercedes 71 Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 66 Pic Marussia-Cosworth 65 Schumacher Mercedes 64 Petrov Caterham-Renault 16 Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 6 De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1 Maldonado Williams-Renault 1 Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1 World Championship standings, round 6: Drivers:--------------------Constructors: 1. Alonso 76 1. Red Bull-Renault 146 2. Vettel 73 2. McLaren-Mercedes 108 3. Webber 73 3. Ferrari 86 4. Hamilton 63 4. Lotus-Renault 86 5. Rosberg 59 5. Mercedes 61 6. Raikkonen 51 6. Williams-Renault 44 7. Button 45 7. Sauber-Ferrari 41 8. Grosjean 35 8. Force India-Mercedes 28 9. Maldonado 29 9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6 10. Perez 22 11. Di Resta 21 12. Kobayashi 19 13. Senna 15 14. Massa 10 15. Hulkenberg 7 16. Vergne 4 17. Schumacher 2 18. Ricciardo 2
Kimi Räikkönen – 9th: “Ninth was the best we could do today. I didn’t start in a great position and I had some difficulties during the race so it’s not been the easiest weekend, but at least we got a couple of points. It’s better than nothing but not exactly what we wanted. One race doesn’t change the fact that we have been pretty strong everywhere – even here at the beginning of the weekend. This circuit is completely different from any other and I don’t think we should worry too much about the fact that it wasn’t our best weekend. It is what it is – sometimes it doesn’t go the way you expected and now we should look to Canada for a better result.”
Romain Grosjean – DNF: “We struggled to get off the line and it looked like Lewis [Hamilton] in front didn’t have the best start either. Fernando [Alonso] pulled alongside him so I was then on the outside of both cars, and unfortunately Michael [Schumacher] was on the outside of me as well. There just wasn’t enough room and next thing I’m facing all the traffic after just one hundred metres which wasn’t a nice feeling. It’s a disappointing end to the week after some positive early signs, but that’s racing and now we look forward to Canada and a chance to bounce back.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “We arrived in Monaco after two consecutive podiums and did not really know what to expect at such a unique circuit. Before qualifying it was obvious that the E20 was going to be competitive, but things did not go as planned. Our positions on the grid did not reflect our true pace and that put us on the back foot for the rest of the weekend. Unfortunately Romain’s race ended prematurely after contact with Michael Schumacher, and like the Stewards I think it was a racing incident. With Kimi, we knew that fighting for a podium was going to be more than difficult. It then became obvious that we were struggling with our tyres when the temperature fell. The grip was just not there and we could only defend our position. In the end, the two points we’ve scored today are disappointing but because the field is so tight we have not lost too much ground on our opponents. We have the same number of points as Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship, while Kimi is 25 points away from Fernando Alonso who’s leading the drivers’ classification. Anything can still happen and the championship is wide open. We’re now looking forward to Montreal, the first low downforce track of the season, where the E20 should be strong. Finally, I wish to congratulate the team for all their hard work this weekend. Our 500th was not one of our best, but I hope the 501st is!”
James Allison, Technical Director: “We’ve had five races so far this season where we’ve shown strongly. Sadly, at the sixth we were not on the pace. It was a completely joyless experience from start to finish. Romain has been metronomic this weekend, but he was out of the race before the first corner which was a massive blow to our hopes for today. Kimi had an okay start, but wasn’t able to keep the car running at a challenging pace once the sheen came off his tyres after ten or fifteen laps. We stayed out longer than we would have done otherwise on the first set of super soft tyres as we, and everyone else, were waiting for rain to come. Now we have to pick ourselves up and come back in Canada to bring both cars home in strong placings.”
The final practice session at Monaco this morning proved to be a productive one for Kimi and Romain, with a good number of laps completed and some useful data gathered on the super soft tyres. The countdown is on to a crucial qualifying session this afternoon…
As the sun beat down on the Monaco paddock, Kimi and Romain flew out of the traps for their install laps moments after the green flags were waved; each on a fresh set of yellow marked soft compound Pirelli tyres.
Kimi remained on track for an early 10 lap stint, the Finn setting the first time of the day as he made up for the time lost in Free Practice 1 on Thursday morning. Romain meanwhile emerged shortly afterwards, firing his E20 straight to the top of the time sheets where it remained until the halfway stage of the session.
With 30 minutes remaining, Romain still occupied P1 with Kimi in P8 as both drivers emerged once more from the pits, this time on matching sets of the super soft tyres. A second and final run on the same scrubbed rubber for both followed, with 10 (Kimi) and 5 (Romain) minutes left to run.
Red flags halted the session a few minutes earlier than scheduled, with Kimi ending the morning in P12 with a fastest time of 1:16.301 from 21 laps, while Romain’s best effort of 1:15.445 from 18 laps saw him occupy P5.
Pos--Driver-------------Team------------------Time-------Gap-----Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m15.159s 25 2. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m15.197s + 0.038s 21 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m15.209s + 0.050s 20 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m15.210s + 0.051s 20 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m15.445s + 0.286s 18 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m15.471s + 0.312s 19 7. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m15.734s + 0.575s 19 8. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m15.893s + 0.734s 23 9. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m16.110s + 0.951s 14 10. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m16.219s + 1.060s 19 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m16.226s + 1.067s 20 12. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m16.301s + 1.142s 21 13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m16.311s + 1.152s 19 14. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m16.479s + 1.320s 20 15. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m17.027s + 1.868s 20 16. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m17.055s + 1.896s 26 17. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m17.276s + 2.117s 25 18. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m17.390s + 2.231s 19 19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m17.404s + 2.245s 22 20. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m18.259s + 3.100s 18 21. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m18.488s + 3.329s 22 22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m19.099s + 3.940s 17 23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m19.147s + 3.988s 19 24. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m19.151s + 3.992s 19
Alain Prost has admitted that he has been surprised by the strong form that Kimi Raikkonen has shown on his return to Formula 1 this year.
Raikkonen decided on an F1 comeback this season after two years with mixed results in the World Rally Championship – and has already produced two podium finishes.
But it is not just Raikkonen’s speed that has left Prost impressed, because the Frenchman also likes the way the 2007 title winner approaches his job, and does not pretend to like aspects of being an F1 driver that he dislikes.
“It is a surprise a little bit when I see him,” said Prost, who is attending the Monaco Grand Prix in his role as an ambassador for Renault. “His mentality, his attitude, it is very good. It is still Kimi, and I like him because at least he is not playing a game. We all know him, and if you accept him, his positive attitude and the way he drives is not bad.
“It is not that easy to come back after two years, even if he has done some rallying. It is quite impressive, and he could be quite a surprise this year.”
While Raikkonen’s comeback is going to plan, Michael Schumacher’s return has not been such a success – and Prost admitted that he had reservations even before the seven-time champion got back in the cockpit.
“I was never 100 per cent positive because he has won so much and also because I suppose he really wanted to be world champion again, which was maybe a little bit too high a target,” Prost said.
Friday morning in Monte Carlo, and we’ve already had more going on in the paddock than there would be over an entire Grand Prix weekend at most venues; all before we’ve even got to qualifying!
Aside from the on track action, Romain has been demonstrating his culinary skills in the Pirelli motorhome, he and Kimi have had their usual media obligations, and Jérôme has not only been commentating on the Free Practice sessions, but also entertaining fans in a Formula 1 simulator competition.
Of course, this weekend is particularly special to the team. Our 500th race has been well publicised, and the launch of the ‘Lotus F1 Team Angry Birds’ and ‘Linkin Park GP’ games have formed just part of the celebrations.
To commemorate the event, the team held a media aperitif in the motorhome on Thursday evening. Crowds of presenters, journalists, photographers and all manner of guests gathered along the harbour’s edge to join the team in toasting our history to date; each leaving with an exclusive set of prints beautifully illustrating our best races here at Monaco.
It almost goes without saying that for a Formula 1 team there could be no better place to celebrate such an occasion. Walking down through the winding stone paths from the hotel to the sound of engines echoing around the hills is quite some way to start the day.
The most glamorous of crowds amass around the barriers, stands and boats – so close to the track that they could almost reach out and touch the drivers; not that we’d recommend trying!
When night falls the city really comes alive. The streets – just hours previous being navigated by the best drivers in the world – suddenly become a car park for a host of exotic machines, from supercars to superbikes, and the air fills with a cocktail of music and voices as the biggest and best parties spill out onto the circuit.
With the sun glistening across the Mediterranean and bathing the hills in warmth, there really is nothing like Monaco…
Having spent the first session in the garage and the second working heavily on setup in mixed conditions, Kimi could have done with a bit more luck today at the Circuit de Monaco. The Finn however is feeling positive, and took time out to talk steering, weather and helmets…
Q: Kimi, a difficult start to the day sitting out most of FP1; did you manage to accomplish what you needed?
KR: It was a bit frustrating, but that’s why we have practice sessions; to make sure we solve any problems before qualifying and the race. Besides, it’s not as if we had a major issue with the car; the modified steering we brought here wasn’t how I wanted it, so we changed it to another setup and that took a while. Like I said, a bit frustrating but not a big deal.
Q: Was the steering more to your liking when you went out for FP2?
KR: It was fine, back to normal which is good. It’s important to get the steering right here; the track is very narrow and the corners are all pretty tight so it’s better to miss one session and make sure everything is how you want it rather than waste time with a setup which doesn’t give you what you need. We made the right decision to change it.
Q: How did the car feel in the damp conditions?
KR: The track was very slippery, but that’s always how it is with street circuits at the beginning of the weekend and it’s the same for everyone. The car felt ok on the intermediate tyres; it was good in a way to have some time in the wet as the weather can change quickly here with the mountains so at least we are prepared if it rains at the weekend.
Q: The E20 looks good around here but obviously it would be better to have had more track time; what are your thoughts heading into qualifying?
KR: We still have one more practice session and the car looks quick so I’m feeling pretty good for qualifying. Ideally we would have had more dry running but that’s how it goes. It always seems like if you miss one session then something happens in the second to make things more difficult but I’m not worried about it; we’ll see what happens on Saturday.
Q: A lot of people have been asking about your new helmet design; can you tell us a bit more about it?
KR: There’s no particular reason for it, I just like how racing was back in those days and it’s a nice design; there’s no more to it than that!
Kimi Raikkonen thinks his Lotus team is well placed for a strong result in Monaco this weekend, despite him losing track time because of a steering problem on Thursday.
The Finn completed just one installation lap in first free practice after being unhappy with a modification to the power steering that was introduced for the Monte Carlo street circuit.
His running in the afternoon was hampered by rain showers that blighted second free practice.
Despite the situation, Raikkonen feels his E20 is in good shape – as long as the team can get on top of the tyre situation.
Speaking about how much of a setback his limited running was, Raikkonen said: “Of course it is not helpful, but that is why we have practice sessions to see if we have some issues.
“Usually, when you have some problems and you don’t get running in the first one, then you have weather like this in the second one. So it is a bit more painful.
“I didn’t go many laps in the dry – but the car in the wet was okay and everyone did the same laptime. We just have to fix a few small things and I think the car is okay if we get the tyres working in the right way.”
Although Raikkonen could have benefited from getting more experience of the Monaco track during FP1, and having the steering changed in the gap between sessions, he reckons he did the right thing in not running at all.
“There was no point to try it like it was,” he said. “We made some new steering here, because usually it is a bit better if you have faster steering, but unfortunately it didn’t work as planned. So we couldn’t really try it and we had to change.
“There were too many things to change and then you have to take the whole front end off, and they did not have time enough.
“I didn’t get many laps in the dry but if you compare what Romain [Grosjean] did, it seems to look pretty good. We are probably in a similar position compared to the others as we are at other circuits.”
Kimi Raikkonen will not be allowed to take part in Rally Finland later this year, Autosport has learned, with his team bosses unwilling to release him from his commitments to the Lotus Formula 1 team.
The former world champion had sought clearance to make a one-off return to the WRC, even though it is understood his F1 contract forbids him from taking part in rallying.
However, following talks between Raikkonen and his boss Eric Boullier in Monaco, he was informed that the memory Robert Kubica’s rally crash last year meant the team was not prepared to allow him to compete.
Boullier told Autosport: “I sat down with Kimi earlier today and we talked about it.
“His contract does not allow him to go rallying and, after what happened with Robert, this team could not let him do it.
“He fully understands the situation, so the matter is closed now.”
Kubica was badly injured in an Italian rally crash in February last year, shortly after the first pre-season F1 test. His injuries forced him out for the season and there remain doubts about whether or not he will be able to make an F1 return.
Raikkonen competed in the WRC in 2010 and ’11 before deciding to come back to F1 for this season.
Opposed to the usual bling and glam associated with Monte Carlo, Kimi Raikkonen is sporting a retro James Hunt helmet in Monaco this weekend. But James who? here is a little info-dosage for those wondering who Hunt is:
James Hunt (1947– 1993) was a British racing driver from England who won the Formula 1 World Championship in 1976. Hunt’s often action packed exploits on track earned him the nickname “Hunt the Shunt.” After retiring from driving, Hunt became a media commentator and businessman. Never one to take himself too seriously, Hunt endeared himself to the British public with his charisma and charm and in the process brought a whole new fanbase to the sport of Formula One.
In early 2007, Kimi Räikkönen entered and won a snowmobile race in his native Finland under the name James Hunt. Räikkönen has openly admired the lifestyles of 1970s race car drivers such as Hunt.
The fact that he chose Hunt’s name – a former world champion and renowned party animal – looked like a window into the real, fun-loving personality he keeps hidden behind the dull, monotonous front we’re used to seeing.
Hunt had talent to throw away as well, and famously was the life and soul of the party – although that lifestyle did get the better of him at times.
In 2007, Kimi also participated in a motorboat race in his home country. Kimi and his friends appeared on a boat in gorilla outfits. The James Hunt name was put in the Gorilla crew’s name list. Check out the event pics here.
Asked about the episode, Raikkonen smiled enigmatically: “Yeah, but was it really me?” he replied. “You don’t know.
Mixed weather conditions and extensive setup work resulted in a steady session for Kimi in Free Practice 2 this afternoon while Romain continued to shine around the Circuit de Monaco.
Forecasts of showers spurred a flurry of activity at the end of the pit lane as Free Practice 2 got underway at the Circuit de Monaco. As the queue to head out on track cleared, both Kimi and Romain charged out of the blocks for their install laps sporting matching sets of scrubbed soft compound Pirelli tyres.
With just 15 minutes of the session run the predicted shower began to fall, with Romain sitting in P2 and Kimi down in P19 having spent the first run assessing his new steering setup.
As the raindrops ebbed away allowing a dry line to emerge, Romain got his first taste of the red marker super soft compound tyres – racking up a good few laps to give the engineers at least some data on the new rubber, which had been thus far un-used this season. The Iceman meanwhile continued his setup work on a second set of scrubbed softs.
With just under 25 minutes left to run and another shower coating the track, both drivers took to the circuit for two final runs on the intermediate tyres – useful experience, as the changeable conditions look set to continue throughout the race weekends if forecasts are correct.
Having attained the necessary knowledge and data, the Finn and the Frenchman brought the E20s in to rest after a productive session – despite the somewhat unpredictable track conditions.
With running for the day complete, Kimi ended the second session in P19 with a fastest time of 1:19.267 from 25 laps, while Romain’s best effort of 1:16.138 from 19 laps saw him lie an impressive P2.
Pos-Driver---------------Team------------------Time---------------Laps 1. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m15.746s 14 2. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m16.138s + 0.392 17 3. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m16.602s + 0.856 19 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m16.661s + 0.915 21 5. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m16.820s + 1.074 18 6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m17.021s + 1.275 13 7. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m17.148s + 1.402 21 8. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m17.153s + 1.407 20 9. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m17.293s + 1.547 9 10. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m17.303s + 1.557 19 11. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m17.375s + 1.629 17 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m17.395s + 1.649 19 13. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m17.655s + 1.909 18 14. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m17.800s + 2.054 23 15. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m18.251s + 2.505 22 16. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m18.440s + 2.694 23 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m18.522s + 2.776 20 18. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m18.808s + 3.062 24 19. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m19.267s + 3.521 23 20. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m19.309s + 3.563 27 21. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m20.029s + 4.283 13 22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m20.240s + 4.494 19 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m20.631s + 4.885 12 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m20.886s + 5.140 10
Kimi Raikkonen – 19th: “It’s good to be back in Monaco even if we missed some running today. The steering wasn’t to my liking so the team changed it for me. It’s something you change for Monaco and there’s no way of knowing what it will be like beforehand. The car felt good in the second session, though it was obviously pretty slippery when the track was wet. I would have liked to have had more time in the car, but Monaco’s a track I know pretty well and it hasn’t changed much over the years. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.”
James Allison, Technical Director: “We’re happy with today’s performance as we came here with a certain amount of trepidation about whether our cars would be competitive. It was a disappointment to have missed the first session whilst we changed the steering setup on Kimi’s car, but he’s an old enough trooper to get himself up to speed on Saturday. The pace shown by Romain in both sessions was certainly encouraging. All the Monaco upgrades seem to be working well and the E20 is pretty happy around what is a very unique track.”
A sole E20 took to the streets of Monaco during the first Free Practice session in Monaco this morning, with Romain charging to P2 while Kimi remained confined to the garage for extensive steering adjustments to his car.
Clear blue skies and mild temperatures greeted the team in the stunning surroundings of Monaco this morning. Set against an idyllic backdrop of rolling hills and sparkling sea, the serenity was soon broken by the scream of Formula 1 cars tearing through the narrow streets.
Both Kimi and Romain surged out of the garage on the hour to complete their install laps on the yellow marked soft tyres. Kimi’s return to the pits would be his last action of the morning, with the Finn requesting a different steering setup which required a total rebuild of the front suspension; inevitably consuming the entire 90 minute session despite the best efforts of the mechanics.
Thus it was left to Romain to put the E20 through its paces on his first visit to Monaco in a Formula 1 car. Having performed spectacularly in the GP2 race here last year the Frenchman was quickly up to speed, setting the fastest time in his first stint on the soft compound tyres – just under 40 minutes into the session.
Having been displaced from his perch at the top of the standings shortly afterwards, Romain returned to the track in determined fashion, fleetingly returning to the head of the leaderboard before just being edged by Fernando Alonso.
With 8 minutes left to run the red flags were waved as Heikki Kovalainen’s Caterham stopped out on track, just after the famous tunnel. With no time to clear the car before the clock reached zero, the session was declared over and the order remained.
As the chequered flag dropped Romain ended the session in P2 with a fastest time of 1:16.630 from 17 laps, while Kimi has yet to take to the Monaco streets after a morning of tweaks to his E20.
Pos--Driver---------------Team------------------Time---------------Laps 1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m16.265s 22 2. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m16.630s + 0.365 17 3. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m16.711s + 0.446 19 4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m16.747s + 0.482 12 5. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m16.760s + 0.495 20 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m16.843s + 0.578 19 7. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m17.038s + 0.773 21 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m17.190s + 0.925 13 9. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m17.222s + 0.957 14 10. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m17.261s + 0.996 18 11. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m17.413s + 1.148 14 12. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m17.631s + 1.366 18 13. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m18.106s + 1.841 14 14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m18.209s + 1.944 25 15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m18.252s + 1.987 28 16. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m18.302s + 2.037 16 17. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m18.617s + 2.352 20 18. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m19.03$s + 2.774 20 19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m19.341s + 3.076 16 20. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m20.838s + 4.573 26 21. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m20.895s + 4.630 18 22. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m21.638s + 5.373 9 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m22.423s + 6.158 15 24. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1
Kimi Raikkonen believes he will have no problems adapting to the Monte Carlo circuit in his return to the principality this weekend.
The Finn has not driven on the street circuit since he left Formula 1 in 2009, but he reckons his previous knowledge of the track will be enough this weekend despite the challenges of the tight course.
“I don’t think it is any different to driving a rally in the middle of the trees,” said Raikkonen. “It is a bit more tricky here but I know the circuit, so…”
“Luck is important but you can’t push your limit too much at the beginning because the circuit changes and it doesn’t matter if I’m 15th or first in the practices. We need to understand how the circuit is changing to get the car right and we only need a few fast laps in qualifying, and in the race every lap, but in practice it doesn’t count.
“You have to make your own luck and do things right and even if you are leading there might be an accident in front of you that you can’t avoid – that is just Monaco. I don’t think I am a very lucky guy and I never counted on that.”
Raikkonen has his eyes set on his first victory of the season after strong races in Bahrain and Spain, but the Finn admits it will not be easy to be on top in Monaco.
“We always try but if we don’t win, we don’t win and we weren’t fast enough,” he said. “We will try again this weekend but this place is definitely not easy to win. We will keep trying though.”
Raikkonen, who has finished on the podium in the previous two races, says it is hard to predict how strong his Lotus team can be this weekend given the nature of the circuit.
“I don’t know because I haven’t been with the team before at this type of circuit or low speed track and this time last year it was difficult because they went a different direction with their design. Last year it definitely didn’t work in the low speed corners and then in 2010 they were pretty strong here so we have to see how it is tomorrow.”
The former world champion will be racing Pirelli’s super soft tyres for the first time this year, and he conceded their performance is an unknown to him.
“It is a different tyre here with the super softs and we haven’t run them the whole year so like I said we will have to see how they are tomorrow and if we have some worries we will have to try to fix them and hopefully we’ll have a good qualifying.”
Raikkonen departed the WRC last season, having spent two years driving a factory-specification Citroen.
The Jyvaskyla-based Rally Finland is the event Raikkonen has most experience, having competed there for the last three years. His best result was ninth last time out.
Raikkonen could compete in Finland, as the event runs the week after the Hungarian GP at the start of the Formula 1 season’s summer break.
Lotus is, however, likely to be understandably reluctant to let Raikkonen compete in Finland, having lost its star driver Robert Kubica when he crashed a Skoda Fabia S2000 ahead of the start of the 2011 season.
Raikkonen said: “I’d like to do Rally Finland this season as it fits with the calendar but you’ll have to ask the team if it fits in my contract.”
Raikkonen, whose best WRC result was a fifth place in Turkey in 2010, admitted the WRC was tougher than he expected ‘ but said he would be back.
He added: “I knew [rallying] was tough as I’d done some before but it’s different at the highest level. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. Of course, I wanted to do better. But I’m not finished. I want to go back, whether for my career or after I don’t know.
“Formula 1 and rallying are two completely different sports. In rallying everything is different. Okay, you have the pace notes but you don’t know for sure what’s around the next corner.”
This week sees Round 6 of the Formula 1 World Championship head to the Principality of Monaco. Here is the rundown on what’s in store this week.
Touching down in nearby Nice, the short drive up through the hills to Monaco is nothing short of spectacular – with plunging rivers and vast ravines flanked by steep cliffs, all set against the Mediterranean sea, creating an idyllic backdrop. Arriving in the city itself, the view is equally as breath taking. Classic architecture at every turn, winding roads through the rows of buildings, narrow streets packed with high class stores and the very best bars & restaurants – if you can eat, drink or wear it, then Monaco has it!
As one would expect from the most prestigious event on the Formula 1 calendar, there is plenty going on around the paddock and elsewhere aside from the racing itself.
The team has already launched the first of two ground breaking digital experiences this morning; both made exclusively for the Monaco Grand Prix to celebrate our 500th race. The first of these – ‘Lotus F1 Team Angry Birds’ – is available via the Official Lotus F1 Team Facebook Fan Page.
The other unique collaboration – this time partnering with global rock sensations Linkin Park – will also be going live on Thursday, so it’s going to be an action packed few days, and that’s without the drivers having even turned a wheel!
Back to the paddock, and the week kicked off (excuse the pun) for Jérôme on Tuesday evening with a charity football match in aid of underprivileged children, with the Belgian star putting in a sterling performance at full back (according to the man himself anyway!)
The usual media frenzy occupies most of Wednesday, with a special event taking place at the Pirelli motorhome this evening. In a unique spectacle, Romain will be competing in a cook-off against McLaren driver Jenson Button – we’re thinking escargots beat beans on toast hands down, but let’s see what happens…
Thursday will see Jérôme in action once again; commentating on both Free Practice sessions, as well as attending a FanZone event in which the public will compete on a Formula 1 simulator alongside the Lotus F1 Team third driver.
A host of events on Friday will once again see Jérôme’s dulcet tones called into action, as he will be commentating on the GP2 action for. The official autograph sessions follow early in the afternoon, as fans get the chance to come face-to-face with their heroes. Kimi and Romain will be attending the session at 14:00 local time, so be sure to head down there if you happen to be in the area!
Early evening, and the show continues; this time with Romain and Eric Boullier attending the grand opening of the latest Lotus Store here in Monaco, before Jérôme heads off to take in the sights at the Amber Lounge Fashion Show – it’s a hard life being a Formula 1 driver!
Of course, the weekend itself will be dominated by the on-track action, with a few guest appearances from the drivers and senior management thrown in for good measure – there really is no time to rest here during a Grand Prix weekend!
Puttin’ on the Ritz
This will be my tenth Monaco Grand Prix. It’s a great weekend ahead of us, while we got this thrilling challenge to go fast in the special event at Monte Carlo.
The one day longer weekend brings always a little bit extra for all the exciting challenges of motor racing.
I’ve got three podiums in Monaco. To win it back in 2005 is a memory, I won’t never forget. It gives you such an unbeatable feeling, while you get right every lap. Obviously, you want to feel it again and again, but it’s the trickiest race of them all to have a perfect day.
You never know beforehand how it goes in racing, and especially for Monaco you can’t even guess how it might go. Obviously, we have done some mistakes in the first few races so far, but you can’t afford even a smaller one, if you want to get things done in Monaco.
I have a positive feeling with the car. It has been good and competitive everywhere, but we have to understand more some details with temparature changes and the tyres, too.
The qualifying is always hundred times more important in Monaco compared to other places. You cannot exaggerate the importance of this qualifying. Obviously for us, the qualifying is something we really have to get right. Lately we have had some hard lessons of it.
To get to the front row does not help, if you are second and you have to start from the dirtier side of the circuit, it’s not easy to keep your place – or to improve it. I’ve been there before and it seems that every time I loose one position simply because you always suffer from the wheelspin.
Coming to Monaco we’ve got now two podiums in a row this season and we have had good points with both cars. So there is a good basis to build on further.
A podium should be a possible target for Monaco, as well. But to achieve it, we have to have a solid and clean weekend all way long since Thursday morning.
Most of all it’s a question of the best drive of the year – the 100% concentration with the 100% working car all the 78 laps of the Grand Prix. That’s the only way to be real happy after the race in Monaco.
Everybody in the team has pushed really hard and it has been good and very motivating time since we started the season. Now it’s time to enjoy the Monaco weekend!
Lotus F1 Team and Linkin Park have joined forces for the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix to create ‘Linkin Park GP’ – bringing together the adrenaline of Formula 1 and the passion of rock music in a ground breaking digital experience for the first time in history.
Featuring Linkin Park’s latest hit single ‘Burn it Down’ and Lotus F1 Team’s stunning E20 car, this unique, world-first creation celebrates the team’s 500th Formula 1 Grand Prix and the release of the band’s 5th studio album ‘Living Things’.
Once more illustrating the team’s innovative approach to promotion and communications, the app will be promoted to Linkin Park’s millions of fans – including 42 million Facebook ‘Likes’ and 850 million YouTube views – in addition to Lotus F1 Team’s dedicated social media followers. It will also benefit from Warner Bros Records’ and Universal Music Publishing’s support worldwide.
Made with direct input from the band, Linkin Park GP is a one of a kind driving, graphical and musical experience. The app is available on iTunes as a free download from Thursday 24th May 2012, coinciding with the band’s tour of Europe and the USA which starts the following day, and the release of their keenly anticipated new album ‘Living Things’ on June 26th.
Check out the teaser trailer below:
Kimi Raikkonen is on the cover of F1 Racing’s magazine, the June issue. A nice surprise for myself this morning! The feature includes a full interview with the Iceman. So here are the scans (please use this link to download the images), enjoy the read:
P.S – Please click once on an advertisement below! It would be much appreciated!
Two podiums from the last two races for Formula 1’s most popular returnee in 2012; Here, Kimi looks ahead to the Monaco Grand Prix:
Q: Barcelona was your second podium in a row for the team; how was it from your perspective?
KR: To be honest, I was a little disappointed. I expected us to be a bit stronger in the race, especially at the beginning. In the last stint we were very good, but it was too late. We were not fast enough to race and that’s why we couldn’t fight for a win. But we showed in the end that we have good speed.
Q: You were flying at the end – was there anything more you could have done to catch Fernando?
KR: Our strategy was to be fast at the end of the race, and we were. When you’re in this situation you wish the race was a little longer, but if it was longer then the other teams would have used different strategies.
I was pushing as hard as I could and to catch up almost 20 seconds felt good, but there’s a little bit of a disappointed feeling afterwards, as in just a few more laps you could have been fighting for first place. That’s racing and at least we scored some good points. We’re going in the right direction.
Q: Second and third already; do you feel a win is around the corner?
KR: To be on the podium twice already is good. Unfortunately you’re not always going to get there. If you get the chance, you should take it because it’s not every race that you will be able to fight for that position. Hopefully we can keep doing what we’re doing now and at a certain point I’m sure that things will go exactly right and we’ll get there. So far we’ve made good steps forward and the car has been strong everywhere.
Q: How are your prospects heading to Monaco?
KR: Monaco is a little bit different and it’s hard to say how it will go there. The team has done a good job so far and we still have work to do and things to improve. So far it’s going well and I’m happy with it. OK, we’re not 100% satisfied with it because we are not winning but that’s a very normal thing and I’m pleased for the team.
Q: How do you define the Monaco Grand Prix?
KR: It’s useless to put races in different categories, because all of them are as important to me. However, as a special race there is nothing like Monaco. There is no better feeling than to get things going well in there. To race in the streets of Monte Carlo is really different from everywhere else; a challenge I look forward to every year. It is very, very difficult, almost impossible, to have a clean weekend there.
Q: You won in Monaco in 2005 – how did that feel?
KR: I’ve only managed to get it right once before, you really do get the greatest feeling by winning it. My win in 2005 ranks up there with my most memorable. So to win it again would be just as special.
Q: What’s the challenge behind the wheel?
KR: It’s such a twisty and narrow track. You have to be extra sharp and focussed in every single metre you go fast there. It gives such a good feeling a fast lap in Monaco. Overtaking has been almost impossible there in the past so to really enjoy racing there you have to be at the front.
Q: What about the atmosphere?
KR: Monaco is always special. It’s an interesting place to go to, with a lot of fans and a lot of parties going on – or so I’m told. It’s a completely different atmosphere from anywhere else.
Q: What’s your approach to the weekend?
KR: We have to focus on qualifying. It’s a difficult place to race as it’s so narrow and passing is nearly impossible. I was stuck behind Rubens [Barrichello] in 2009 and we had KERS then, but you just couldn’t get past. We’ll have to see how the tyres perform and if there are any good strategies to be made, but the most important thing is qualifying well. It’s difficult to know how good the car will be in Monaco as you can’t simulate its characteristics, certainly not at any of the circuits we’ve visited so far this year. We can say the E20 has been fast everywhere else so let’s hope it’s also fast at Monaco.
Check out Kimi’s past Monaco special helmets here.
Videos of past Monaco action from Kimi:
Lotus F1 Team joins forces with a group of flying Finns (no, we’re not talking about Kimi!) to announce a unique partnership for the Monaco Grand Prix.
While Lotus F1 Team will contest its 500th Grand Prix in Monaco, the No.1 digital game in the world – Angry Birds – has just reached 1 billion downloads. As a result, both brands have decided to join forces to celebrate these respective milestones.
To commemorate this noteworthy occasion, Rovio’s famous game will become the team’s “Official Angry Partner”, represented by eye catching Angry Birds branding on Kimi Raikkonen’s and Romain Grosjean’s E20 cars.
In addition, a unique version of the Angry Birds game will be available exclusively from the team’s Official Facebook Fan Page for a limited period of time. ‘Lotus F1 Team Angry Birds’, specifically designed for the Monaco Grand Prix, will be playable from Wednesday May 23rd onwards.
A video teaser of the game:
About Rovio Entertainment:
Rovio is an industry-changing entertainment media company headquartered in Finland, and the creator of the globally successful Angry Birds franchise. Angry Birds, a casual puzzle game, became an international phenomenon within a few months of its release, and is now the number one paid app of all time. Following this success in mobile gaming, Angry Birds has expanded rapidly in entertainment, publishing, and licensing to become a beloved international brand.
Source: autosport.com | by Jonathan Noble
Kimi Raikkonen is back to his best in his return to F1. So much so, that the Finn is not happy to settle for podium finishes – he wants wins. They will come.
“Hyvaa aitienpäivää. Ei muuta.”
If something is worth doing, then it’s worth doing well. For Kimi Raikkonen after the Spanish Grand Prix, that meant making sure that if he was going to be disappointed at not winning, then he may as well do it in the best possible way.
Not for him the corporate boring PR response – that it was good to take some points and ‘I am happy with all the efforts my team and my sponsors have made’. Instead, in front of millions of fans on live television, when asked for some words in his own language about the race, he muttered simply with a cheeky grin: “Happy Mother’s Day. That’s all.”
Those words said a lot about the mindset of Raikkonen at the moment: the deep disappointment that courses through his veins when he does not win, and why he has found himself in a situation where he is the happiest he has been in his F1 career – liberated almost – because he can let his personality run free.
When word first got out that Kimi Raikkonen was making the push for a Formula 1 return in 2012, it would not be wrong to suggest that a lot of the paddock reacted with apathy.
Here was a former world champion: dropped by Ferrari in favour of Fernando Alonso at the end of 2009 because he failed to deliver the leadership Maranello felt it so needed, who had spent the following two years enjoying himself blasting through forests but not achieving anywhere near the levels of success that either he or his fans expected.
Furthermore, his first port of call was down at Grove when he and Williams chiefs sounded each other out. On the back of the team’s worst ever season in F1, and questions above Raikkonen’s ultimate motivation and whether or not he would ever be bothered to dig deep enough to help haul a team up from near the back of the grid, it was not looking likely that this was a partnership that was going to be producing wins.
In the end, the Williams talks collapsed and instead Raikkonen concluded a deal with the then Renault team. But even that looked like it was going be a partnership that was not going to produce much. Renault’s 2011 campaign, which had started off on the back foot following the loss of Robert Kubica, went into free-fall as a decision to develop a forward-facing exhaust proved to be a development dead-end.
Yet, ultimately, neither has had to worry about the other piece of the jigsaw. The rebranded Lotus team has produced a neat little machine in the E20 while Raikkonen, although perhaps a little rusty at the start of the season, appears already to be back to his best.
In fact, if we were to scratch the Australian GP on the grounds that it was Raikkonen’s first race for more than two years, then the Finn would be second in the championship at the moment – just five points behind leader Fernando Alonso. That’s not a bad feat considering the amount of time it normally takes for new team/driver combinations to hit the good times.
At each race, Raikkonen and Lotus appear to be getting better: which in a season when most outfits are struggling to find consistent form, says a lot about what we can expect from the future.
There is another interesting factor to consider about him too, that could well point to the potential for some big gains in a season when rivals are scrambling around searching for answers as to why they are or are not quick on a certain weekend.
Raikkonen told my media colleague Heikki Kulta in Spain last weekend that he did not concur with the widely accepted view that it is Pirelli’s aggressive tyres that are having the impact on racing at the moment. Instead, he suggested it was the legacy of the banning of refuelling.
“I don’t think the nature [of F1] is different because of that,” he told Kulta in an interview with his Turun Sanomat newspaper about Pirelli’s tyres. “It’s because of the amount of the fuel on board. I don’t think there would be that much problem with these tyres, if we would race with 50 or 60 kilos, when we start.
You can’t always get what you want!
It’s always good to finish the Grand Prix weekend in the podium. Up there you see how much people have enjoyed the race, you see your team having fun – and you sum up for yourself, how good was your own race.
As a team, for the first time, we got more points than anybody else. Obviously, it cannot be much better than that! But as a team, we also felt, that there could have been even more points to get from this race, as well.
Everybody knew before coming to Barcelona, it was going to be very tight again between so many teams, and it would end up being down to tyre strategy to gain a bit of advantage, if possible. Our car has been good and strong everywhere, but the hotter is the track temperature, the better it is for E20.
For the starters, obviously, it was ideal weather for us. The sun made it feel like summer – and the track temperature was exactly, what ’our doctor ordered’ it to be!
We did our usual Friday programme, the long runs were giving promising data, and the tyre was working as we expected it to work. No problems, with that at all.
The qualifying was ok. We had too much some set-up issues before starting the Q1, but in the final run for the day, the car was at it’s best. Actually so good, that it surprised me in one corner. We lost some time and were out of the first row. But, all in all, it was a solid qualifying result to go for it in the race.
Obviously, the weather was not doing us any favors, while the real good sunshine from previous days was fading for the race start, and the so important track temperature came down accordingly, too. We went along with our tactics. The start was ok, but I could not improve more than one place.
With a hotter temperature, maybe, the second stint would have been our stint, but in this time, it was the stint, where we lost our way to higher positions. The soft solution was not the optimal solution this time. After second stint the gap to the leaders was just a bit too much to catch up in the end.
Well, we tried our best. With the hard tyre working better, we got close again – and a few laps more to go, we could have won. But it’s waste of energy to think, what could have happened. We got P3, 15 points and gained 3 places in the championship. As a racing driver I cannot be 100% happy, if I not winning after being so close, knowing the potential of the car, and being the fastest of top 3 drivers at the end of race. But you cannot always get what you want!