Archive for May 26, 2012

Kimi: “Sunday is our priority – that’s our focus”

Source: lotusf1team.com

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A difficult weekend thus far for Kimi, but as always the Iceman has his eyes on the prize, and all thoughts on the race…

Q: Kimi, P8 on the grid for tomorrow’s race; what are your thoughts on qualifying today?

KR: To be honest I think we’ve been slightly behind where we wanted to be all weekend. Missing FP1 didn’t help of course but the car itself feels ok; the biggest issue is getting the tyres working. I could have gone a bit quicker on my fastest lap but I locked a wheel in the second part of the swimming pool so unfortunately that lost us some time. Not the best day but Sunday is the priority; that’s our focus.

Q: Do you think getting the tyres working will be the key factor during the race?

KR: I don’t think it will have such a big effect in the race as we’re doing much more laps on the tyres; it’s getting them right for a single lap that’s been a bit difficult. We still have a lot to learn with the super soft tyres though as it’s the first time we’ve used them.

Q: You’ve used up the allocation of super soft tyres already; will this be a handicap in any way?

KR: Obviously it’s always nice to have fresh tyres but I don’t think it will make a huge difference. Degradation is very low here, and strategies will probably be very similar between the teams. Besides, when you look at the front of the grid it was so close that most people are in the same situation as us.

Q: Overtaking is notoriously difficult here; how hard will it be to make progress in the race itself?

KR: You can never tell with Monaco. If we have a completely clean race then it will be tricky to improve but anything can happen here; especially if the weather changes. For sure we expected to be in the top five today and that would have made things easier, but the race could always bring a few surprises…


Monaco Grand Prix – Qualifying Results: 8th

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

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A touch of Monaco magic descended on Monte Carlo this afternoon, as one of the most tightly contested qualifying sessions in recent memory kept hearts racing to the very last second.

As Q1 got underway, both E20s emerged from their respective garages sporting matching sets of yellow marked soft compound Pirelli tyres. Each set a sighter lap before the session took a twist with just 5 minutes elapsed.

Red flags waved as Sergio Perez clipped the wall through La Piscine, eventually coming to a stop at La Rascasse. Unfortunately for Kimi and Romain, both were forced to abort flying laps – Romain in particular looking very strong before having to back off and head back to base.

With the session back underway, the team held the drivers in the garage before releasing them with just over 5 minutes remaining. Romain put in a strong early lap early to put himself right at the sharp end on the soft tyres.

Kimi by contrast seemingly encountered traffic at every turn, coming under pressure in the dying moments of the first session. The Finn dived into the pits for a set of the super soft compound tyres, and promptly joined his team mate in comfortably progressing to the next stage.

Q2 was the scene of a further incident at the mid-point of the session, as Jean-Eric Vergne found himself in the wall heading down into the chicane. After a pair of steady laps early on, Both Kimi and Romain launched their E20s out of the garage with 5 minutes remaining; both using the super soft tyres.

An unbelievably tense climax to the second session saw the top 10 drivers covered by less than half a second. Both Lotus F1 Team drivers left it late to secure their places, with Romain occupying P8 and Kimi putting in a last gasp lap to secure P10.

The pole position shoot out started in a much more serene manner, but by the end drama had returned once more to the Monaco streets. With 5 minutes to go, Romain set a fantastic lap to take top spot by almost a second from his nearest rival, with Kimi slotting in a few tenths behind in P6.

It was not to last however, as a frantic finale to the day’s running saw most of the field make mad dashes for the line with mere moments to spare, with the resulting grid providing a number of big surprises.

Once the dust had settled on a breath-taking qualifying session, Kimi found himself in P8 with a 1:15.199 from 8 laps, while Romain – at one stage looking good for pole – eventually settled for P5, with a best time of 1:14.639 from 6 laps. Romain will be to P4 for tomorrow’s race, as Michael Schumacher will receive a 5 place grid penalty following his incident with Bruno Senna last time out in Barcelona.

Pos-Driver---------------Team-----------------Time-----------Gap 
 1.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m14.301s
 2.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m14.381s
 3.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m14.448s
 4.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m14.583s
 5.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m14.639s
 6.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m14.948s
 7.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m15.049s
 8.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault        1m15.199s
 9.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault     1m15.245s
10.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     no time
Q2 cut-off time: 1m15.322s Gap **
11.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes 1m15.421s   + 0.510
12.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m15.508s   + 0.597
13.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m15.536s   + 0.625
14.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault     1m15.709s   + 0.798
15.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m15.718s   + 0.807
16.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m15.878s   + 0.967
17.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m16.885s   + 1.974
Q1 cut-off time: 1m16.491s Gap *
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault     1m16.538s   + 1.120
19.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault     1m17.404s   + 1.986
20.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth    1m17.947s   + 2.529
21.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth         1m18.096s   + 2.678
22.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth    1m18.476s   + 3.058
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         1m19.310s   + 3.892
24.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       no time

Team quotes:

Kimi Raikkonen – 8th: “For sure we’re not very happy after that session. Since the first practice we’ve been a little bit behind where we should have been and we’ve been trying to catch-up. The car is fine, the biggest problem today was trying to get the tyres working as it seemed to be a bit tricky to get them up to temperature. I could have been a bit faster on my best lap, but I went a little bit too deep in the swimming pool section. It’s a bit disappointing but you can’t get it right every time. At a normal race track you would be able to gain positions through overtaking, but in Monaco this is difficult. That said, anything can happen here so hopefully we can achieve something good tomorrow.”

Romain Grosjean – 5th: “We are not as high on the grid as we wanted to be, but things were very tight today. I did a very good lap in the first part of Q3 but then I couldn’t improve on my second set of tyres. This was a shame because our strategy was perfect for the last part of qualifying. The traffic wasn’t too bad but I missed out in sector two. I think pole position was within reach. P4 is not exactly where we wanted to be but the race will be long. It’s Monaco, it will be difficult; nonetheless we know that the car is quite good on high fuel and with the tyres, so let’s see what we can do and put the best strategy into place.”

Video: post-qualifying interview


Monaco Grand Prix – Final Practice Results

Source: autosport.com | Free Practice 3 – report: lotusf1team.com | twitter |

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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

Prost: ‘Raikkonen’s form a surprise’ (but not to us!)

Source: autosport.com

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.