Archive for May 12, 2012

Post-qualifying interview with Kimi

Source: lotusf1team.com

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Lining up in fifth on the grid for the Spanish Grand Prix, Kimi Räikkönen looks ahead to contesting his tenth Formula 1 race in Barcelona. Can he go one step better than in Bahrain?

Q: Kimi, how was qualifying today?

KR: For the team the qualifying result is probably the best of the season so far but we had a chance to do better; I made a mistake in turn nine so we lost a few tenths there. I think we had a chance to be in the top three but we’ve been fighting with the set-up quite a bit today. We change the car for qualifying and actually it was the correct call in the end; it was just a few small mistakes which cost us some time on my Q3 lap.

Q:  What do you think are your prospects for the race?

KR: We’ll see how it goes. The car has usually been better on Sunday than it has been on Saturday, so if that’s the case tomorrow we’ll be pretty happy. Hopefully we get a reasonable start and we can be up the right end and go for it. I think we’ve got a good car and that’s the main thing.

Q: What are your thoughts on the tyre performance for the race?

KR: On Friday’s long runs we looked okay in terms of tyre degradation, but the race is going to be different again as everyone has a better idea of their cars and the track has changed since Friday. Usually our car is better in the race than in qualifying.

Q: Are you happy with the car setup now?

KR: We struggled a little bit with the setup all weekend but for qualifying we changed the car and we went back to the baseline where it was okay. In qualifying it was good, especially in the last corner and without my mistake we could have been in the top three. I think it should be a bit better in the race.

Q: Do you have any concerns about the weather?

KR: I’m happy to race in the dry and I’m happy to race in the wet. Our car is good in the hot conditions and I don’t think it’s going to be freezing cold tomorrow. As long as it’s a reasonable temperature we should go fine.

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Spanish Grand Prix – Qualifying Results: 5th

Source: autosport.com | lotusf1team.com | twitter |

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A season best performance overall for Lotus F1 Team during this afternoon’s qualifying sessions for the Spanish Grand Prix, as both Kimi and Romain brought their E20’s home in the top five during a pole position shootout which was as frantic as it was unpredictable.

Similar conditions to those of Free Practice 2 yesterday afternoon provided a significant challenge for the drivers as Qualifying 1 got underway at 14:00 local time in Barcelona. Soaring temperatures created a noticeable lack of mechanical grip, as most competitors struggled with understeer in particular.

The first flying laps of the afternoon for Lotus F1 Team saw Romain immediately flying out of the traps, taking P1 with his first attempt on the silver marked hard compound Pirelli tyres. With Kimi was somewhat more conservative in P5.

With five minutes to go, both drivers emerged once more on the yellow marked soft tyres. Kimi surged straight up to P2, only to be immediately knocked out of his position as his team-mate went quickest. The Finn ended the session in P7, with the Frenchman flying high in P2.

Qualifying 2 saw the team opt for a single run apiece for Kimi and Romain. With six minutes to go, the 2007 Formula 1 World Champion lead the reigning GP2 Champion out of the pits. An empty track greeted the pair, with matching sets of fresh soft tyres for both.

Once more, the Finn jumped straight to the sharp end of the grid, shortly to be displaced by the Frenchman. Both drivers easily sailed into the pole position shootout in P3 (Romain) and P5 (Kimi).

The final session kept the entire paddock guessing right until the last minute. Both Lotus F1 Team drivers left it late to make a single attempt on the soft tyres, The Finn and the Frenchman momentarily sitting in P3 and P2 respectively; just shy of Fernando Alonso.

A frenzy of last gasp attempts saw Kimi eventually finish the day in P5 on the grid for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix, with a fastest time of 1:22.487. Romain’s best effort of 1:22.424 will see him start in P4; another fine performance for the young Frenchman.

With the team’s best qualifying session of the season so far and good long run pace demonstrated in Friday Practice, the team are feeling positive for the race tomorrow.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-03

  • Position: Q1 – P7 / Q2 – P5 / Q3 – P5
  • Best Time: Q1 – 1:23.406 / Q2 – 1:22.856 / Q3 – 1:22.487
  • Laps Completed: Q1 – 7 / Q2 – 3 / Q3 – 3

Romain Grosjean, E20-04

  • Position: Q1 – P2 / Q2 – P3 / Q3 – P4
  • Best Time: Q1 – 1:23.248 / Q2 – 1:22.667 / Q3 – 1:22.424
  • Laps Completed: Q1 – 8 / Q2 – 3 / Q3 – 3
Pos--Driver---------------Team-----------------Time-----------Gap 
 1.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m21.707s
 2.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault     1m22.285s
 3.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m22.302s
 4.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m22.424s
 5.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault        1m22.487s
 6.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       1m22.533s
 7.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m23.005s
 8.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     No time
 9.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             No time
10.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       No time
Q2 cut-off time: 1m22.904s Gap **
11.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m22.944s   +  0.839
12.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m22.977s   +  0.872
13.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m23.125s   +  1.020
14.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes 1m23.177s   +  1.072
15.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m23.265s   +  1.160
16.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m23.442s   +  1.337
17.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m23.444s   +  1.339
Q1 cut-off time: 1m24.362s Gap *
18.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault     1m24.981s   + 2.398
19.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault     1m25.277s   + 2.694
20.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault     1m25.507s   + 2.924
21.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth    1m26.582s   + 3.999
22.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth    1m27.032s   + 4.449
23.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth         1m27.555s   + 4.972
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         1m31.122s   + 8.539

Quotes:

Kimi Raikkonen – 9th: “I think we had a chance to be in the top three but we’ve been fighting with the set-up quite a bit today. We changed the car for qualifying and actually it was the correct call in the end; it was just a few small mistakes which cost me some time on my Q3 lap. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow in the race; the car has usually been better on Sunday than it has been on Saturday, so if that’s the case tomorrow we’ll be pretty happy. A lot of small details will decide the race and the tyres are one aspect of course. Our long runs were promising yesterday, so we’re not looking too bad. Hopefully we get a reasonable start and we can be up at the right end and go for it. I think we’ve got a good car and that’s the main thing.”

Video:


Spanish Grand Prix – Final Practice Results

Source: autosport.com | lotusf1team.com | twitter |

With one last chance to prepare for qualifying, Kimi made good use of the team’s final opportunity to squeeze the final drops of performance from his car, while Romain was unfortunate to suffer the E20’s first dose of unreliability during the season so far.

Slightly cooler conditions than the previous day’s running at the Circuit de Catalunya, but nonetheless a dry, bright and warm start as the one hour countdown for Free Practice 3 began.

Kimi and Romain charged down the pit lane in flying formation for their install laps on matching sets of the silver marked Pirelli hard compound tyres. Standard procedure of system checks and oil dips before heading back to base to wait patiently for an opportunity to attack the track.

The drivers eventually seized their chance to put the E20’s through their paces with fifteen minutes elapsed – once again sporting identical hard compound tyres.

A matter of minutes later, Romain’s session came to a premature end with a loss of fuel pressure forcing the Frenchman to stop out on track. Despite stellar work from the mechanics, there was simply not enough time to get the car back out for another run.

In the meantime Kimi continued to work on long runs using the hard tyres, occasionally heading back to box for minor tweaks aimed at eliminating mild doses of understeer from his E20.

As the chequered flag dropped, Kimi finished the morning in P9 with a fastest time of 1:23.936 from 16 laps, while Romain failed to set a flying lap due to technical issues with his E20.

Pos--Driver---------------Team-------------------Time---------------Laps
 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1m23.168             13
 2.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault       1m23.336s  + 0.168   19
 3.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1m23.350s  + 0.182   19
 4.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1m23.578s  + 0.410   16
 5.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1m23.742s  + 0.574   22
 6.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1m23.807s  + 0.639   15
 7.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m23.833s  + 0.665   14
 8.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1m23.909s  + 0.741   13
 9.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault          1m23.936s  + 0.768   16
10.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1m24.070s  + 0.902   23
11.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1m24.179s  + 1.011   16
12.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   1m24.323s  + 1.155   17
13.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m24.331s  + 1.163   15
14.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault       1m24.409s  + 1.241   18
15.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1m24.599s  + 1.431   15
16.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1m24.778s  + 1.610   15
17.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1m24.825s  + 1.657   17
18.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault       1m25.911s  + 2.743   20
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault       1m26.587s  + 3.419   20
20.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth      1m27.469s  + 4.301   18
21.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth      1m27.689s  + 4.521   16
22.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           1m28.207s  + 5.039   24
23.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth           1m28.373s  + 5.205   13
24.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault          no time               2