Archive for June, 2012

Kimi frustrated over lack of win | Silverstone quotes


Kimi Raikkonen has admitted he is increasingly frustrated at still being winless eight races into his Formula 1 comeback as his and Lotus’s strong form has raised his expectations.

The 2007 world champion, back in F1 in 2012 after a two-year sojourn in the World Rally Championship, is sixth in the points at present and has taken three podium finishes.

Raikkonen said that while he would have been delighted at the prospect of those results before he rejoined F1, the fact that he feels better results have got away is leaving him discontented.

Q: How do you feel your season is shaping up?

KR: If you asked me before the start of the season whether I would be happy with podiums I would have said yes, but now I’ve had some good results, I want more. In the last few races the results haven’t been as strong as I’ve wanted. We’ve finished well but I’m disappointed not to have a win yet. We just have to get everything together and I’m sure it can come.

Q: What was your feeling at the end of the European Grand Prix?

KR: I was happy, but equally it’s always disappointing when you don’t win. The race wasn’t perfect for me. I got a good start but then I got blocked and lost quite a few places. I managed to retake some positions but it wasn’t easy. At the restart, I lost a place to Lewis [Hamilton]. I just got too much wheelspin out of the corner. Then, when I was in third place, a few cars retired and I thought I would save the tyres a bit and try to get Lewis at some point. I saw him sliding and it wasn’t until the last few laps when I could make the move, but I got him in the end.

Q: If you could have got past Lewis sooner, do you think you could have challenged Fernando [Alonso] for the win?

KR: I had a good car, but basically I let him past at the restart. After the bridge, I made a mistake and Lewis got past me. It was my own mistake. I would have overtaken him sooner to get the place back if I could have done. I was not waiting for the last or second last lap; I just didn’t have the speed. I had to wait until he ran out of tyres. Then I got the chance. I tried to get closer and closer but I was not fast enough earlier on. If Lewis had not got past me I would have had a better chance against Fernando, but it’s one of those things; if you make a mistake you pay the price. I think we’ve been closer to the win at other tracks, but if we see everything going right for us over a race weekend we’re not far off. We’re certainly getting there.

Q: How do you like the Silverstone circuit?

KR: It’s always such a good feeling going to Silverstone. It’s a great place to race. I have a long history there. It was the real base for the start of my international racing career in Formula Renault in 1999 and 2000. Since then I’ve always enjoyed racing at Silverstone. I don’t know why; there must be this nostalgic feeling that I have every time we go there. I’ll enjoy the weekend whatever the weather will be. We’ve seen quite a lot of different conditions there in the past, and not always good! It’s always windy at Silverstone and often it rains, too. The track conditions change very quickly, which makes the car more tricky to set up. It’s part of the fun racing in England; at least it’s the same for everybody.

Q: What are the challenges of Silverstone?

KR: When I first raced there it was my real favourite. It’s so fast and demanding which makes it very challenging. The corners really flow and it’s all about long, sweeping high-speed corners and high downforce levels. Somehow it has been a good circuit for me since the very beginning. It will be interesting to see how the new section changes a lap, but I’m sure I’ll learn it very quickly.

Q: You’ve won at Silverstone in 2007 and been on the podium five times altogether. How does it feel when everything goes right there?

KR: When you win in Silverstone, it gives such a good feeling. You have to get everything exactly right. I won there in Formula Renault and then with Ferrari in 2007. It would be fantastic to win again there, especially with the factory just down the road. I’m sure we would have some fantastic celebrations.

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Kimi’s column: Valencia GP review


Well, it was a third time we managed to get quite close to the first place. But close is not enough. Obviously, we have the car to win races, but so far we have lacked some small things to get everything expectantly together during the whole Grand Prix weekend.

I really enjoyed the race in Valencia. It was pure action every lap. It was a shame I’ve lost places after both starts. More or less I’m quite satisfied with the rest of the time in that long and hot race.

The Spanish June welcomed us in the most expected way. The weather was hot and humid. Just as we like it the most.

After two not that good qualifying sessions this time we had quite nice run. Everything went according to our plan until Q3. Then somehow the first set of new tyres didn’t work that well. We lost the best of the first attempt and didn’t gain the advantage we were looking for of two runs with new rubber.

P5 was still ok. We had a good start off the line, but then the first corner didn’t work out that well. I’ve got blocked by Maldonado and, instead of, gaining two places, I lost two places.

Obviously, on the street circuit, that means loosing some time while you’re stuck behind the slower cars. Step by step we came through. Then the safety car changed the race dramatically. The re-start was again a setback. I made a mistake and Hamilton got pass me.

We were much faster compared to McLaren, but there was not speed enough to attack. If I could have done it, I would have tried immediately, but we had to wait, until Hamilton’s tyres were finished and just then go pass him.

That was only three laps before the chequered flag, so it was all we could achieve. Being second felt good, but not as good as winning would have been.

Returning to the podium in Valencia after three years was nice. It was good to have a short chat with Andrea Stella, who used to my race engineer at Ferrari and congratulate him for winning the race with Alonso.

Obviously, we have a good fight with Ferrari in the constructors’ championship. It was a pity Romain had to stop, because the team could have doubled the points. Now the fight continues in Silverstone. Now it’s any time at all!

Video: Raikkonen’s Valencia overtakes

Valencia post-race interviews: “never happy until you win”


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P2 for Kimi at the Valencia Street Circuit this afternoon gives the Finn his third podium of the season, and the fifth for the team in 2012 so far. A superb drive by the 2007 World Champion throughout a hectic European Grand Prix, but the Iceman was hoping for more…

Q: Kimi, your third podium of the season so far; was victory a possibility for you today or were the tyres just not there at the end?

KR: I think everybody had quite old tyres by the end; I just didn’t have enough left in them to push any harder. We managed to get past Lewis [Hamilton] on I think it was the second-last or third-last lap, but we didn’t really have the speed to challenge for the win. The rear tyres were pretty bad, especially in the middle of the circuit where there were three or four corners that were quite tricky. The rest was ok, and I think everybody had similar issues. After all the things we went through in the race second place is not bad, but of course you’re never happy until you win. It was bad luck for the team as well; it would have been much nicer to have both cars on the podium.

Q: Things looked pretty close out there at the start; tell us about it from your view…

KR: I got a good start but got blocked by Pastor [Maldonado] in the first right-hander – the little kink – so I had to back off and lost quite a few places because of that. That meant I was a bit behind already, so from that point onwards it was a case of catching up and trying to get past people but we made a good recovery from that position.

Q: It was quite a busy race for you too, especially the battles with Pastor [Maldonado] and Lewis [Hamilton]…

KR: It was quite a busy race actually and I had quite a hard fight with a few people. I managed to pass some cars, but it was difficult to overtake today. I got sight of Maldonado a few times but he pushed me wide. After the safety car we gained a few places, but on the restart I lost a position to Lewis [Hamilton] which was frustrating. I just got too much wheelspin out of the corner. Then when I was in third a few cars retired so I thought I’d try to save the tyres a bit and aim to get past Lewis [Hamilton] at some point. I saw him start sliding a bit in the last few laps and we got past in the end.

Q: Do you think that if you had overtaken Lewis [Hamilton] a bit earlier you could have pressured Fernando [Alonso] for the win?

KR: I would have overtaken if I could. I wasn’t waiting for the last or second-last lap; I just didn’t have the speed and had to wait until he ran out of tyres and I got the chance. I tried to get closer and closer but I wasn’t fast enough earlier on, otherwise I would definitely have tried to overtake. I basically let him past at the restart. I made a mistake after the bridge and he got past me. It’s a shame, but it was my own mistake.

Drivers’ post race press conference interview:

Q. Kimi, it’s a third podium position of the season for you. Was a victory possible for you today or were the tyres just not there at the end?

KR: I think everybody had quite old tyres at that point. I just didn’t have enough tyres. I had enough tyres to get past Hamilton on I think it was the second-last or third-last lap. We didn’t really have the speed to challenge for the win. I think on the start already I got a good start but got blocked by Maldonado in the first right-hander and lost quite a few places because of that. I was a bit behind already at that point. We made a good recovery from that position. I had quite a hard fight with people and overtaking and then second place. It’s OK of course, but not what we wanted.

Q. Kimi, quite a busy race for you too, what with battles with Maldonado and Hamilton.

KR: Yeah, I got a pretty good start but then in the first right-hander, the little kink, I got blocked by Maldonado so I had to back off. I lost quite a few places there, so at that point onwards it was a case of trying to catch up and try to get past people. I managed to pass some, but it was difficult to pass today. I got sight of Maldonado a few times but he pushed me wide. I tried and tried and then in the end I managed to get past some people and after the safety car I managed to get past people also. On the restart, I lost a place to Hamilton. I just got too much wheelspin out of the corner. It was quite a busy race actually. Then, when I was in the third place, a few cars retired and I thought I would try to save the tyres a bit and try to get Hamilton at some point. I saw him sliding a bit. So I think it was the second-last lap or something but I got him in the end. OK the result second after all things we went through in the race but of course you’re never happy until you win. And for the team, bad luck. It would have been much nicer to have both cars on the podium.

Q. And your tyres. Were they shot at the end?

KR: Yeah, the rear tyres were pretty bad. Especially in the middle of the circuit. There were three or four corners that were really bad. The rest was not so bad. I think everybody had similar issues.

Q. (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) Kimi, is it realistic to believe that if you had overtaken Hamilton before that you could attack Alonso?

KR: I would have overtaken if I could. I was not waiting for the last or second last lap. I just didn’t have the speed. I just had to wait until he ran out of his tyres. Then I got the chance. I tried to get closer and closer but I was not fast enough earlier on, otherwise I would definitely have tried to overtake. But basically I let him past at the restart. After the bridge, I made a mistake and he got past me. It was my own mistake.

Q. (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Kimi and Michael, about the championship, if you had to bet some money, would you put that money on Fernando or is there still some room for Vettel and Hamilton?

KR: I don’t even know what the points are so it’s a bit difficult to say. We’ve seen how quickly things can change this year. You only need one bad race and the guy wins so I wouldn’t put money, probably use it for something else.

MS: Things change so quickly – maybe I put money on myself.

Valencia Grand Prix – Results: 2nd for Kimi!

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A frantic European Grand Prix from the Valencia Street Circuit saw extremes of emotion for Lotus F1 Team, as Kimi produced a fine drive to take his third podium of the season while Romain was deprived of a potential race win by mechanical failure.

Key Moments:

Lap 1: Clean getaway for both drivers; Romain up to P3, Kimi shuffled down to P7 but retakes P6
Lap 2: Romain attacks Lewis Hamilton, Kimi passes Pastor Maldonado but is run wide by the Williams and re-passed
Lap 10: Romain passes Lewis Hamilton with a brave move
Lap 13: Kimi takes Pastor Maldonado with a great pass round the outside
Lap 14: The Finn pits for the first time; soft tyres
Lap 16: The 2007 World Champion is jumped by Fernando Alonso in the stops, Romain pits for softs to shadow Vettel
Lap 17: Romain slicing through traffic, Kimi caught behind slower cars
Lap 19: Kimi passes Mark Webber using DRS down the straight
Lap 20: The Finn then passes Bruno Senna through the kink
Lap 23: Then passes Paul Di Resta in a similar fashion to Mark Webber previously
Lap 26: Fastest lap of the race for Romain
Lap 28: Safety car, Romain and Kimi both pit, Kimi gains as place as LewisHamilton has a slow stop
Lap 34: Safety car in, Fernando Alonso passes Romain, Lewis Hamilton passes Kimi, Sebastian Vettel stops on track promoting both drivers one place
Lap 35: Romain closes on Fernando Alonso, Kimi passes Daniel Ricciardo
Lap 40: Romain retires, loss of alternator
Lap 55: Kimi almost takes Lewis Hamilton at the end of the long straight, then makes it stick two corners later
Lap 60: Kimi crossed the line to take P2


A clean start for both drivers saw Kimi move up alongside his team-mate off the line and attempt to pass Pastor Maldonado through the first curve. The Venezuelan however had other ideas; blocking the Finn who subsequently dropped two places. Romain meanwhile took advantage to pass both drivers and move into P3.

Later around the first lap, the 2007 World Champion passes Nico Hulkenberg to reclaim P6 as both E20s show good early pace. Romain meanwhile had started to hound the back of Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren, eventually passing the British driver with a brave move into the chicane following the long straight.

A few laps later, Kimi pulled off a fantastic move around the outside of Pastor Maldonado to move back into his P5 starting position before pulling into the pits for a fresh set of yellow marked soft compound Pirelli tyres on the next lap. Romain dived in for the same rubber shortly afterwards, shadowing leader Sebastian Vettel.

With the order now significantly shuffled, The Finn found himself behind Fernando Alonso but making good progress back through the pack; passing Mark Webber, Bruno Senna and Paul Di Resta in quick succession. Romain was simultaneously was slicing his way through the pack, setting the fastest lap of the race along the way.

Lap 28 saw the safety car deployed, with both Lotus F1 Team drivers diving in for their final stops – making the switch to medium rubber. With Lewis Hamilton suffering a slow wheel change, Kimi found himself promoted a position as the train of cars backed up.

No sooner had the safety car dived in that both the Finn and Frenchman found themselves under pressure; Romain losing a place to Fernando Alonso while Kimi found himself re-passed by Lewis Hamilton. Moments later, leader Sebastian Vettel slowed to a stop promoting both drivers up one position.

Lap 40 saw the end of a fantastic run for Romain, who had driven superbly to keep in touch with Fernando Alonso ahead, with his tyres potentially in a state to allow the Frenchman to challenge the Spaniard for the lead – an alternator failure the cause of his early exit.

This left Kimi as the lone charger to deliver a result for the team, and deliver he did; battling hard with Lewis Hamilton pulling off a strong pass to take P2, where he would eventually finish to claim his third podium of the season; the fifth for the team in 2012.

 1.  Alonso        Ferrari                    1h44:16.449
 2.  Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault              +     6.421
 3.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +    12.639
 4.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +    13.628
 5.  Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes       +    19.993
 6.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +    21.176
 7.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +    22.866
 8.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +    24.653
 9.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +    27.777
10.  Maldonado     Williams-Renault           +    34.653
11.  Senna         Williams-Renault           +    35.961
12.  Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +    37.041
13.  Petrov        Caterham-Renault           +  1:15.871
14.  Kovalainen    Caterham-Renault           +  1:34.654
15.  Pic           Marussia-Cosworth          +  1:36.551
16.  Massa         Ferrari                    +     1 lap
17.  De la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth               +     1 lap
18.  Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth               +     1 lap
19.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +    2 laps

Fastest lap: Rosberg, 1:42.163

Not classified/retirements: 
Driver-------Team---------------------On lap
Grosjean      Lotus-Renault                41
Vettel        Red Bull-Renault             34
Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari               34
Vergne        Toro Rosso-Ferrari           27
Glock         Marussia-Cosworth            1

World Championship standings, round 8: 
 1.  Alonso       111        1.  Red Bull-Renault          176
 2.  Webber        91        2.  McLaren-Mercedes          137
 3.  Hamilton      88        3.  Lotus-Renault             126
 4.  Vettel        85        4.  Ferrari                   122
 5.  Rosberg       75        5.  Mercedes                   92
 6.  Raikkonen     73        6.  Sauber-Ferrari             60
 7.  Grosjean      53        7.  Williams-Renault           45
 8.  Button        49        8.  Force India-Mercedes       44
 9.  Perez         39        9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari          6
10.  Maldonado     30       
11.  Di Resta      27       
12.  Kobayashi     21       
13.  Hulkenberg    17       
14.  Schumacher    17       
15.  Senna         15       
16.  Massa         11       
17.  Vergne         4       
18.  Ricciardo      2

Video: Sky Sports post-race interview

Lotus Team Quotes:

Kimi Raikkonen – 2nd: “Second place is okay but the win is what I really wanted. We didn’t quite have the pace for it today. I got a good start but I was blocked by Pastor (Maldonado) at the first right-hander and lost quite a few places which put me a bit behind. We made a good recovery from that position and had quite a hard fight with a few people – overtaking and being overtaken. I couldn’t get the tyres up to temperature quickly enough after the safety car, and I made a small mistake on the re-start lap too. I was able to fight back as we had good race pace again. Today was close but the race win was just out of reach.”

Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “It’s a good result for the team and for Kimi. Second brings a lot of points, and we also didn’t lose ground on the teams ahead of us in the championship standings. On the other side of the coin, it’s been a disappointing day for Romain as he was in such a good position for at least a podium finish. This is racing, and we will work closely with our partners to ensure we don’t see a failure like this again in the future. Both drivers and the team worked very well this weekend and we have shown that if we achieve a good qualifying position we can fight for the win.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “I’m very happy for the team to be on the podium again with a strong second position from Kimi. I’m sorry for Romain as he was in a good position before what we believe was an alternator failure resulted in a lack of fuel pressure, causing his car to stop. He was right in the fight to be on the podium again so that was unfortunate. Our tyres held up well against the opposition and we did see overtaking once the tyres of other cars dropped away. It was quite a straight-forward call for the final pit stop under the safety car, and we could see that there was enough space between both cars to double stop them. Both drivers did very good jobs today. We know we need to look at getting heat into the tyres quicker after a safety car, but otherwise a very strong weekend.”

Raikkonen has good feeling with the car


Kimi Raikkonen believes that it will be more difficult for teams to gain a strategic advantage during the European Grand Prix than it was in Canada.

The 2007 world champion, who starts the race fifth on the grid, one place behind Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean, is confident of his race pace. But he expects the lack of overtaking opportunities at the Valencia Street Circuit to make it more difficult to make up ground with tyre strategy.

However, he expects two stops to be possible and that there is potential for some variation.

“I don’t know,” he said when asked if it will be possible for Lotus to find a strategic advantage. “It will probably be more normal here than it was in Canada.

“We probably will be close to the edge on stops. Maybe people will try to do one or three? But in Canada there were more chances to do things. Here, there is no long back straight to pass on.

“I’m not sure it’s going to be easy to overtake, but if someone runs out of tyres a bit then we can have a good chance.”

Raikkonen is confident heading into the race, both because of the long-run pace and the tyre management of the Lotus E20.

However, he is cautious about his chances given the potential for certain of his rivals to come into their own in the race.

“We hope that we are in good shape, but you never know,” he said. “We have seen in many races that some people suddenly get much faster.

“But I have a good feeling with the car and I think we should be good. Usually, our car is quite good over a race distance.”

Kimi: one of the best qualifying performances this year


After equalling his best qualifying performance of the season to date at the Valencia Street Circuit this afternoon Kimi is in positive spirits, and with good reason. The Iceman has shown strong race pace at every venue so far in 2012, and with conditions suiting the E20 the Finn is looking nowhere but up…

Q: Kimi, how was qualifying for you today?

KR: It’s one of the best qualifying performances for us so far this year. We did get the same position before in Malaysia but we had a penalty and didn’t start from there so it’ll be nice to actually sit in P5 on the grid this time. With another tenth from my lap I could have been in second place so you can see how close it is.

Q: How easy will it be to move up the order here?

KR: For sure it’s not that easy to overtake, but if someone ahead is struggling with their tyres then you have a better chance. Our car has always been good on tyres in the race so that could give us an advantage.

Q: What are you thinking in terms of race strategy?

KR: We have to start with the soft tyres we used in qualifying and we’ve looked okay on long runs with them. From there we’ll just have to see what happens.

Q: How is the car improving?

KR: We’re making small improvements with the steering and we’ve found some other things to make the car a bit easier to drive so we are certainly going in the right direction. For us it’s better to be hot than cold, so hopefully it will stay hot and that should help us get the best from the car.

Video: Q3 lap onboard Raikkonen

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Valencia Grand Prix – Qualifying Results: P5 for Kimi

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A good performance from Lotus F1 Team in Qualifying for the European Grand Prix saw both drivers make the top five for the second time this season; an encouraging sign with the strong race pace of the E20 sure to make for an interesting day on Sunday.

Qualifying 1 Summary:

Perfect conditions to kick off the first qualifying session as Kimi and Romain emerged for their first runs on fresh sets of the white marked medium compound Pirelli tyres.

Initial laps put the Finn and Frenchman into P2 and P4 respectively. Both E20s remained parked until the final few minutes as the times started to tumble.

Second stints on another new set of medium tyres saw the pair move through to the second phase of qualifying without having to use the soft compound.

Qualifying 2 Summary:

Scorching temperatures as the E20s joined the circuit for the second phase of qualifying, both drivers opting for the soft tyres.

First runs put the pair firmly in the top five as Kimi leads Romain round before returning to the garage to observe the competition.

With moments to spare, Romain emerged for a second run as the field bunched up to within thousandths of a second. Kimi remained boxed, confident that his initial attempt would be strong enough to progress.

The Frenchman produced a fantastic lap to clinch P1 as the chequered flag dropped. Both driver progressed to the grand finale; Kimi with two fresh sets of soft tyres to burn.

Qualifying 3 Summary:

After a tense second session which saw the field separated by thousands of a second, the pole position shoot out would prove relatively calm.

With two fresh sets of soft tyres available, Kimi made two attempts at hitting the front while Romain remained parked until the mid-point of running before emerging for a single flying effort.

The Frenchman made a small mistake on his hot lap, but nonetheless brought his E20 home in P4. Kimi’s second run was the stronger of his two efforts, with the Finn narrowly being shaded into P5 by his team-mate.

 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m38.086s
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m38.410s  + 0.324
 3.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault     1m38.475s  + 0.389
 4.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m38.505s  + 0.419
 5.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault        1m38.513s  + 0.427
 6.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m38.623s  + 0.537
 7.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m38.741s  + 0.655
 8.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes 1m38.752s  + 0.666
 9.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m38.801s  + 0.715
10.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m38.992s  + 0.906
Q2 cut-off time: 1m38.703s Gap **
11.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m38.707s  + 0.218
12.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m38.770s  + 0.281
13.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m38.780s  + 0.291
14.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault     1m39.207s  + 0.718
15.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       1m39.358s  + 0.869
16.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault     1m40.295s  + 1.806
17.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m40.358s  + 1.869
Q1 cut-off time: 1m40.087s Gap *
18.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m40.203s  + 1.378
19.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m40.395s  + 1.570
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault     1m40.457s  + 1.632
21.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth         1m42.171s  + 3.346
22.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         1m42.527s  + 3.702
23.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth    1m42.675s  + 3.850

Lotus Team Quotes:

Kimi Raikkonen – 5th: “It was very close in qualifying, especially in Q2, so it’s good to be fifth on the grid. The car felt good. If we could have improved just a little bit on my last lap then we could have gained a couple of places, but it is an improvement on last time out so I’m very happy with that. We found a few good things with the setup this morning to make the car easier to drive. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. The car usually goes well in the race when it’s hot, so let’s see what we can do.”

Romain Grosjean – 4th: “Today we got pretty much the most out of the car that we could have. P4 is a good position for the start of the race but of course you want always more and to do better. Sebastian did an unbelievable lap and today we could not have matched it. We have improved our qualifying performance but there is still room to do better. Tyre degradation will be more important than what we saw at the last race. There will be 57 laps in hot conditions on Sunday; we will see what we can do for a good race tomorrow.”

Alan Permane, Director of Trackside Operations:

Q. How do you assess today’s qualifying performance?

AP: “We’re very happy with today’s performance and both drivers have done an excellent job. Fourth and fifth positions on the grid are excellent places to start and we know the E20 has demonstrated very strong race pace at the majority of circuits this season. I’m sure tomorrow will be no exception.”

Q. Has there been a particular focus on qualifying this weekend?

AP: “We haven’t done anything radically different from our approach at previous grands prix. We’ve certainly had a smoother weekend so far than we did last time out in Montreal, and we seem well suited on the soft tyres. We’ve looked at the data and given greater consideration to qualifying pace, but our race preparations remain the same.”

Q. What are the strategy considerations for tomorrow?

AP: “We’ve come from much further back on the grid than P4 or P5 and finished very well, so we have good confidence heading into tomorrow’s race. That said, overtaking is very difficult here even with DRS, so we’re not expecting an easy race from that perspective. It’s likely to be a very hot race which will give the tyres a hard time and we’re confident in those conditions. It’s open for a one, two, or three stop strategy tomorrow, so let’s see what happens.”

Valencia Grand Prix – Final Practice Results: P3

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A strong showing from Lotus F1 Team in Free Practice 3 this morning saw both E20’s place inside the top three positions around the Valencia Street Circuit as the countdown to qualifying begins…


Clear blue skies and glorious sunshine greeted the teams in Valencia this morning as the final practice session of the weekend got underway. After a productive day of long run simulations on Friday, the focus for Lotus F1 Team was now on squeezing every last drop of pace from the E20 in preparation for qualifying later today.

Kimi and Romain departed the garage moments after the green flags were waved to complete their install laps on the white marked medium compound Pirelli tyres; data collection, system checks and oil dips forming the standard pre-run procedure.

With eleven minutes elapsed, the Frenchman pulled up at the end of the pit lane for a practice start before taking to the track for his first run; setting the first time of the day in the process with the track to himself.

His Finnish counterpart followed almost immediately afterwards, setting a time just fractions slower with his first attempt – both drivers sporting fresh sets of medium tyres.

At the end of their first stints, Kimi found himself in P2 with Romain in P4 after short runs for the pair; a strong early showing from the E20 around the Valencia Street Circuit.

Second stints followed shortly afterwards; the 2007 World Champion sporting scrubbed medium tyres while his team-mate became the first driver to use the yellow marked soft compound Pirelli tyres, setting the fastest time of the session despite a mistake on his opening lap.

With just over ten minutes remaining Kimi took to the track for his final run – his first of the day on the soft tyres – setting a time just one tenth shy of Romain’s best effort from earlier in the session.

Not to be outdone, the Frenchman emerged for his last stint of the morning on a set of scrubbed soft tyres. Just minutes later, the entire field (less Mark Webber) were out on the circuit as each team aimed for one last flying effort before qualifying this afternoon.

Once the scramble had calmed and the dust settled, Kimi ended the morning in P3 with a fastest time of 1:38.759 from 18 laps, while Romain’s best effort of 1:38.655 from 18 laps was good enough for P2. A quick pit-stop practice followed for the pair to end the session, as all eyes now turn to qualifying…

 1.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m38.562            17
 2.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1m38.655s  + 0.093  18
 3.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1m38.759s  + 0.197  18
 4.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1m38.819s  + 0.257  17
 5.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1m38.892s  + 0.330  17
 6.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1m39.084s  + 0.522  20
 7.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1m39.141s  + 0.579  15
 8.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1m39.178s  + 0.616  17
 9.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1m39.318s  + 0.756  15
10.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1m39.357s  + 0.795  18
11.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1m39.358s  + 0.796  19
12.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1m39.395s  + 0.833  15
13.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1m39.434s  + 0.872  13
14.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1m39.543s  + 0.981  13
15.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1m39.946s  + 1.384  20
16.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m40.037s  + 1.475  17
17.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m40.134s  + 1.572  20
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1m40.681s  + 2.119  15
19.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1m41.282s  + 2.720  4
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1m41.931s  + 3.369  15
21.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1m42.758s  + 4.196  14
22.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1m42.815s  + 4.253  16
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1m42.943s  + 4.381  14
24.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1m43.124s  + 4.562  16

Kimi: we are looking to make it quicker in qualifying


P10 and P11 for Kimi on the opening day of the European Grand Prix weekend, and the Finn is already focused on finding those elusive fractions of a second to propel his E20 up the grid in qualifying…

Q: Kimi, how was the first day of running in Valencia?

KR: It was a pretty normal Friday. The car feels okay and there were no issues. The wind was a bit of a factor in the morning but it was better in the afternoon. It hurts you in some places around the lap, but it makes it better in other places. At the end of the day it’s the same for everyone. As a first day we haven’t started too badly, so let’s hope the rest of the weekend is the same.

Q: How did the car feel in terms of race pace in the afternoon session?

KR: I was stuck in traffic for quite a bit of my long run in the second session, so I wasn’t able to go as fast as the car was capable of. Anyway, we don’t have any issues on that front as our race pace is usually pretty good, so it’s not a big deal.

Q: Is there a focus to find improvements for qualifying?

KR: The E20’s strong point always seems to be its race pace but of course we are looking to make it quicker in qualifying. Let’s see how it is tomorrow morning and we’ll do whatever’s necessary to make it faster. We’ll make a few changes to the car for sure, but I think we’re pretty much okay. We just need more speed over a single lap; it’s a simple as that.

Valencia Grand Prix – Friday Practice Results | Quotes

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Free practice 2 – report and times:

Long runs and plenty of work on the yellow marked soft compound Pirelli tyres saw Kimi and Romain rack up a healthy number of laps in Free Practice 2 from the Valencia Street Circuit this afternoon; ending the day in P11 and P8 respectively during another productive session for the team.


As Free Practice 2 got underway this afternoon, warmer conditions and a drop in wind speed from the morning session created a slightly more representative scenario for the teams ahead of the expected heat wave forecast for the rest of the weekend.

Both drivers emerged immediately from the garage as the green flags were waved; Kimi sporting a fresh set of white marked medium compound tyres with Romain opting for a scrubbed set of the same rubber.

Long runs were the order of the day as the team analysed the E20’s performance on different tyre compounds under heavy fuel loads; starting with the medium and then focusing on the softer options.

The only slight interruption during an otherwise productive session came when Pedro De La Rosa buried his HRT in the tyre barriers at Turn 14, bringing out the yellow flags and subsequently causing the team to call both drivers into the pits.

Romain set pulses racing on the pit wall with a big lock up during his final stint; the Frenchman putting a significant flat spot on his tyres and almost collecting Michael Schumacher in the process.

With a good distance completed and a host of data gathered in preparation for the rest of the weekend, Kimi brought his E20 home in P11 with a best time of 1:39.945 from 34 laps, while Romain returned to base having set a 1:39.868 from 33 laps; good enough for P8 as the last cars crossed the line.

 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1m39.334             33
 2.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   1m39.465s  + 0.131   32
 3.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1m39.595s  + 0.261   20
 4.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1m39.601s  + 0.267   27
 5.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault       1m39.644s  + 0.310   34
 6.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1m39.700s  + 0.366   32
 7.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1m39.733s  + 0.399   34
 8.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault          1m39.868s  + 0.534   33
 9.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1m39.901s  + 0.567   30
10.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1m39.926s  + 0.592   32
11.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault          1m39.945s  + 0.611   34
12.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1m39.990s  + 0.656   33
13.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault       1m40.075s  + 0.741   29
14.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1m40.147s  + 0.813   25
15.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1m40.244s  + 0.910   35
16.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1m40.511s  + 1.177   29
17.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault       1m40.963s  + 1.629   20
18.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m41.121s  + 1.787   32
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault       1m41.197s  + 1.863   38
20.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m41.263s  + 1.929   29
21.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth      1m42.424s  + 3.090   21
22.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth      1m42.958s  + 3.624   30
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           1m44.201s  + 4.867   33
24.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth           1m44.260s  + 4.926   12

Team quotes:

Kimi Raikkonen – 11th: “The car feels okay and there were no issues. The wind was a bit of a factor in the morning but it was better in the afternoon. I was stuck in traffic for quite a bit of my long run in the second session, so I wasn’t able to go as fast as the car was capable of, but we don’t have any issues on that front. The E20’s strong point always seems to be its race pace but of course we are looking to make it quicker in qualifying. Let’s see how it is tomorrow morning and we’ll do whatever’s necessary. We’ll make a few changes to the car for sure, but I think we’re pretty okay.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “It’s been a straight-forward and issue-free Friday for us. We conducted aero evaluation of a new front wing and new floor and we will be considering the data this evening. In the afternoon we concentrated on race pace and tyre management so our finishing positions, as usual, don’t necessarily represent where we expect to be after qualifying tomorrow. Overall, we’re very happy with the way the E20 is performing here. There is some scope for improvement to get both Kimi and Romain 100% happy with their cars, which we will work on tomorrow morning. In terms of long run pace we think we are looking competitive.”

Free practice 1 – report and times:

A relatively cool morning by Valencia standards saw Lotus F1 Team trial a range of new parts for the E20, as Kimi and Romain ran through a typically busy schedule to bring the cars home in P10 / P11 respectively.


After the intense heat of Thursday, Friday morning brought far cooler conditions as the first session of the weekend kicked off at the Valencia Street Circuit.

A host of alterations to both E20s were on show as the garage shutters rolled up, including floor, rear suspension and steering tweaks for Kimi and a new front wing for Romain.

With three minutes elapsed, both drivers departed the garage for their install laps on matching sets of the white marked medium compound Pirelli tyre.

A lull in the action followed while various adjustments were made to the cars, with first runs for the Finn and Frenchman eventually kicking off with thirty minutes on the board.

Kimi instantly went quickest with his opening lap, with Romain following close behind. As the first runs came to a close, the pair found themselves in second and third respectively.

Both drivers returned to the tarmac for their second runs with just over half an hour remaining, working through the usual Friday programme focused on developing the car for Sunday’s race rather than seeking outright single lap pace.

This would prove to be the final stint of the morning for Romain, who remained deep in discussion with his engineers down in the garage for the rest of the session.

Kimi meanwhile took to the track or one final run with seven minutes to go, rounding things off by putting the pit-crew through their paces with a practice stop.

As the chequered flag dropped, Kimi found himself in P10 with a best time of 1:41.620 from 22 laps, while Romain’s best effort of 1:41.784 from 15 laps was good enough for P11.

 1.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1m40.890s            22
 2.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1m40.973s  + 0.083   21
 3.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1m40.984s  + 0.094   19
 4.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m40.994s  + 0.104   19
 5.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1m41.065s  + 0.175   26
 6.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1m41.105s  + 0.215   15
 7.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1m41.117s  + 0.227   22
 8.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1m41.158s  + 0.268   18
 9.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1m41.182s  + 0.292   21
10.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1m41.620s  + 0.730   21
11.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1m41.784s  + 0.894   15
12.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1m41.838s  + 0.948   19
13.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1m41.861s  + 0.971   16
14.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1m42.109s  + 1.219   20
15.  Jules Bianchi         Force India-Mercedes  1m42.175s  + 1.285   21
16.  Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault      1m42.299s  + 1.409   24
17.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1m42.442s  + 1.552   26
18.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m42.758s  + 1.868   26
19.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m42.777s  + 1.887   28
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1m43.209s  + 2.319   19
21.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1m44.173s  + 3.283   18
22.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1m44.996s  + 4.106   15
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1m45.120s  + 4.230   23
24.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1m45.338s  + 4.448    7

Thursday in Valencia – interview

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Listen to the audio interview with Kimi.

Kimi Raikkonen says he cannot help but feel disappointed with his results in recent races having been in a position to win earlier this season.

The Lotus driver admitted, however, that if he had been told ahead of the start of the year that he would have finished on the podium by now, he and the team would have been pleased.

“Of course when you get the good results and you get close then you get disappointed that you don’t win,” Raikkonen told reporters in Valencia on Thursday.

“But then if you had asked before the season if they had been happy with these results they would definitely have been.

“They probably wouldn’t expect that they are so high up. But then when you are up there and you don’t win then of course it is disappointing. But if you give yourself sometimes a chance to win then of course you are expecting more.”

Raikkonen has finished on the podium twice this season and was in a close fight for victory in Bahrain.

In the last two races, however, the Finn has finished eighth and sixth.

The former world champion reckons his form is being hurt by low starting positions.

“In the race we have been quite strong,” said Raikkonen. “Sometimes there are small things we haven’t done exactly right, but it is always easy to say that.”

Raikkonen was again cautious about his prospects for this weekend’s European Grand Prix, where he will be hoping to be in the battle to be the eighth winner this year.

“We always try to win, but it’s not easy. We don’t know how well we are going to do. We will see tomorrow and bit and then Saturday. Hopefully we can be up there on Sunday.”

Kimi’s column: Valencia GP preview


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Hot Stuff

Obviously, I like Spain. I have won twice in Barcelona, and I’ve been on the podium in Valencia, so there are some good memories. I have never raced with Lotus in Valencia, so in a way it’s a brand new adventure for me, like every single Grand Prix weekend this year.

The circuit is all about the corners, there are some straights, and it’s generally quite a challenging weekend ahead, again. With so many corners you have to be very consistent, while the smallest error will hurt your lap time substantially.

I have raced twice in Valencia and the weather has always been good. It should be hot again, and that would suit our car very well. As a team we like the Hot Stuff in this season! We have been working hard with the qualifying settings.

The boys at Enstone have done long days to get things going better in one lap. We know it has been our weakest point, and that has kept us from challenging for the top positions on the starting grid.

I just wish to have one normal weekend, from P1 on Friday morning to the finish of the race on Sunday afternoon.

The circuit itself is not that difficult compared to Monaco. There are a few straights, but still, it’s one of those places, where overtaking is very tricky, if not impossible.

That means qualifying is very important, but still keeping in mind the race gives the points. That’s our target – to keep on going well with the race distance. The hotter it is, the better it is for us.

Now we can leave the issues with the supersofts, and focus on the soft and medium choice from Pirelli. Obviously, the surface and the hot weather will bring a challenge of its’ own kind for this race. It’s the same for everybody, and whoever gets it right, will do well and will catch good points.

Let’s wait and see, what we are able to do. As a team the effort is at the highest level, while we try our very best to carry on strongly in the constructors’ championship, too.

Kimi’s column: Canadian GP review


Spinning wheel

To finish eighth was not what we were looking for in Canada. But if you start from P12 and gain four places before coming to the chequered flag, you didn’t waste the whole afternoon for nothing.

Obviously, we would have needed a more normal weekend. It all went wrong on Saturday. The car was OK in the morning practice and we were expecting to fight for a place in the top 5 of the grid.

The issue with the hydraulics gave some signs already on Friday. Then it came back during the qualifying session. The differential was not working properly, and for sure, that’s bad with the wheel spin, while you have to get everything together in one lap in Q2.

We tried, but lost a little bit to qualify further, and that was position 12 in the grid. It’s not as bad as it would have been in Monaco, but close enough. It’s a shame to know it now afterwards.

The circuit has the straights, but the DRS zone was not the whole straight. It’s not a simple place to overtake. That’s how people were stuck behind the slower car and you just cannot do enough to improve your position.

We raced against Rosberg, and lost the position there with the pit stops. We would have needed to gain 1-2 seconds somewhere to do better after our pit stop. Now we didn’t have that second and I felt every time somebody came back from the pits, he just got in front of us.

Obviously, that was frustrating to experience, but that’s how it goes sometimes in racing. It was not our day, that’s for sure.

After the pit stops I tried a couple of times the overtake Webber, but the Red Bull was extremely quick exiting the corner and I just could not get close enough in that straight.

Well, we finished again and got some valuable points. Although we were not that happy with the race, the team had a real nice time and Romain got a fine podium finish. Obviously, I would have needed to be in Q3, too, to have a chance to get better result, as well.

Now we return to Europe. The car showed the potential is still there. Let’s wait and see, how the weekend goes in Valencia. We can improve, and that is an encouraging starting point!

Lotus defends Kimi’s performances


Lotus boss Eric Boullier insists his team has no concerns about the performances of Kimi Raikkonen this season – even though the Finn has endured his fair share of frustrations on his return to Formula 1.

Raikkonen has faced particular difficulties in finding a power steering set-up that he likes – and that prompted questions about his attitude when he elected not to run in first practice in Monaco because he did not like the feel from the car.

With his inexperienced team-mate Romain Grosjean on a high after his strong second place in Canada, and now just two points behind Raikkonen in the drivers’ championship, there is a renewed debate about whether or not the former world champion can rediscover his previous race-winning form.

But Boullier says the outfit is fully behind Raikkonen, and thinks it was only normal to expect the Finn to take time to fully get himself back up to speed in F1 – and for Lotus to understand how best to work with him.

“It is all part of the understanding between team and driver,” Boullier told AUTOSPORT. “We had two new drivers in the team and each driver has his own driving style and characteristics.

“It is just part of the learning process – and teams like McLaren, Red Bull Racing and Ferrari, they have driver line-ups that they are used to working with.

“This year we had two new drivers – which included one nearly complete rookie. And with Kimi, we just had to take time to adjust. It has just been part of the process to understand his driving style and make adjustments to know how best to work together.”

Lotus is still chasing its first victory of the year, and success for either Raikkonen or Grosjean in Valencia would make them the eighth different winner so far this season.

Although the team has been in with a shout of victory several times this season – including in Bahrain, Spain and Canada – Boullier says there is no mounting desperation to reach that target.

“There is certainly no frustration,” he said. “I think we have to be proud of what we achieved so far, and I can only praise the efforts of factory and all the guys. There is no frustration to have – it is a new cycle, new drivers, and we knew we cannot have the perfect style from race one. You always have to improve yourself.

“Our car was coming from a little bit further back than the others, so it took time to get the package working. But it is nice to have some good expectations.”

Kimi: “I’ve never won in Valencia, so it’s a good target”


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After a frustrating Canadian Grand Prix where grid position and traffic hampered what could have been a good result for the Finn, Kimi Räikkonen is focused on getting a strong result on the streets of Valencia.

Q: What’s your view of the Canadian Grand Prix?

KR: It wasn’t a straightforward weekend for us, even though the result was not too bad in the end. It was cold on Friday for practice and we expected rain in the afternoon, so we ran a different programme. Then in qualifying on Saturday I had a hydraulic issue with my car meaning I qualified in twelfth position. In the race, I made up some places but we could have been a few positions higher up if things had gone differently. I got stuck behind slower cars for quite a long time and unfortunately when we made the pit stop we couldn’t quite get the jump on them. It’s a shame but that’s racing.

Q: How was the car in the race?

KR: The car was much better in the race for sure. The hydraulic issue was fixed and we didn’t see a return of that problem. Also, the race was much hotter than the days before and we have seen that the E20 works better when it’s warm. We’ve seen the car go well at another different circuit which is encouraging. Let’s hope this continues for Valencia.

Q: It looked like you were stuck in traffic at times in Montréal; how frustrating was this, and was overtaking very difficult?

KR: For sure it was frustrating; I never want to be stuck behind another car! We thought it would be okay for overtaking in Canada, but it wasn’t so easy in the end. The DRS zone wasn’t very long and it didn’t last for the whole straight, so it was hard to get a good tow from the car in front. It became even more difficult when the cars in front also had DRS available because they were racing the driver ahead of them. Ultimately, if we had done better in qualifying we wouldn’t have had these problems, but that’s how it goes sometimes.

Q: Leaving Montréal, what was your overall feeling?

KR: A bit frustrated overall as I think we could have achieved more from the weekend. Still, we gained more points for the championship which is the most important thing, especially with everything so close this season.

Q: Valencia is the third street course in a row, and the fourth so far this season: How does it compare with the others?

KR: Valencia is a street circuit, but the layout is not like Albert Park, Monaco or Montréal. It’s definitely the fastest track of these four. It’s likely to be hot and we seem to go well in warm conditions so that’s what we’ll be hoping for.

Q: You seem to have suffered in qualifying for various reasons, and this is another street course where you need to qualify well…

KR: Qualifying is going to be very, very important again here. Obviously, there will be an advantage to starting on the clean side of the track as the streets are only used as a circuit once each year. It’s not an easy place to overtake and we’ll have to see how much help the DRS will be.

Q: What’s the secret to gaining a good result on the streets of Valencia?

KR: Valencia is all about being very consistent. It’s so easy to lose time with small mistakes.

Q: We’ve had seven winners from seven races so far this season; can you make it eight from eight?

KR: I love winning and that’s what I’m always trying for. I’ve never won in Valencia, so it’s a good target. Last time I raced in Valencia I finished in third after starting from sixth on the grid which was not too bad.

Kimi at InterSolar show + pictures

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Lotus F1 Team driver Kimi Räikkönen made a special guest appearance at the InterSolar show in Munich on Thursday afternoon for a simulator driving session and award ceremony.

Appearing as a guest of Lotus F1 Team partner Trina Solar, Kimi was in attendance at Munich’s InterSolar trade show to help showcase the solar panel manufacturer’s partnership with the team. As the largest industry exhibition in Europe, InterSolar attracts more than 80,000 visitors over three days, with a large portion of that crowd heading over to the Trina Solar stand on Thursday afternoon to catch a glimpse of the 2007 World Champion.

The Finnish star kicked things off by attending a press conference alongside members of Trina Solar senior management, before taking centre stage in the Lotus F1 Team simulator. After completing three laps of the Silverstone circuit – typically setting the fastest lap of the day in the process – Kimi took on the role of presenter, awarding prizes to the fastest three drivers from a two-day competition run by Trina Solar for their registered installers.

The prize for third fastest was a Lotus F1 Team shirt signed by both Kimi and team-mate Romain Grosjean, with second fastest receiving a pair of tickets for the German Grand Prix and the winner a pair of Paddock Club passes for the same event. No doubt a somewhat different experience compared to his regular schedule, the event gave Kimi a fresh insight into the complexities of solar technology:

Kimi: “It’s interesting to be here with Trina Solar to see how they are using Formula 1 and to find out more about solar power. It can have really great benefits, as we can see with the team, and it’s something I’m actually personally interested in for the future.”

Mark Kingsley – Chief Commercial Officer of Trina Solar – was delighted to welcome the Finn to the event, and highlighted the close relationship with the team as a pioneering partnership within both the industry and sport:

“It’s been great having Kimi here with us today to showcase our partnership with Lotus F1 Team. As the first solar company to enter Formula 1 in 2010, we are leading the way in our industry with our joint activities with the team. We’re bringing tangible benefits to Enstone with initiatives such as our latest solar panel installation – which powers the team’s new simulator building – and our commitment to the Plant-for-the-Planet campaign.”

“Trina Solar is founded on innovation, quality, leadership and teamwork and we have found a like-minded strategic partner in Lotus F1 Team, with whom we also share a strong commitment to environmental sustainability.”

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Mika Salo: Villeneuve’s comments unfounded


Kimi Raikkonen’s seat at Lotus might not be secure, according to 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve.

Villeneuve, whilst attending last weekend’s Canadian grand prix at the Montreal circuit named after his legendary father, described Lotus’ black and gold E20 car as “amazing”.

The French Canadian suggested that with a top driver at the wheel, the Enstone based team might even be leading the world championship.

But what about Raikkonen? As the 2007 world champion who this season has made a widely-hailed F1 comeback, isn’t the laconic Finn a truly ‘top driver’? Not according to Villeneuve.

Indeed, whilst the 32-year-old has been on the podium twice so far in 2012 and is sixth in the drivers’ standings, Raikkonen has been regularly outqualified by his newcomer teammate Romain Grosjean this season.

“That he is usually behind Grosjean in pure performance makes me think he (Raikkonen) could be dropped,” Villeneuve is quoted in the latest edition of France’s Auto Hebdo.

Finnish commentator Mika Salo acknowledged Raikkonen’s recent struggles, particularly the poor performances in Monaco and Canada.

“But this was just one good event for him,” former Sauber and Toyota driver Salo told the Finnish broadcaster MTV3.

Nonetheless, there are rumblings in the F1 paddock that not all is well in the relationship between Raikkonen and Lotus.

A big sticking point is the saga about the E20’s steering system.

“Now, it’s like with a child,” an unnamed team member is quoted by the German-language Speed Week.

“We’ve laid down six lollipops and he can choose one. There won’t be a seventh version of the steering for him,” he insisted.

Lotus F1 Team have strongly thwarted the rumours going around in the media, as well as their trackside operations director Alan Permane:

Lotus F1 Team:

@chan42411 I wouldn’t pay any attention to these rumours, Kimi is happy with the team and the team is happy with Kimi! :)

Alan Permane:

@toothfish1 this is completely untrue. We have a new version for him to run in Valencia P1

Mika Salo acknowledged: “Kimi has retained his natural ability to drive a car, but he and the team definitely haven’t come to terms about what he needs.

“But as for Jacques Villeneuve, I doubt he has even spoken a single word to Kimi about what the problem really is. He is a complete outsider,” Salo insisted.

“We can all have opinions, but the truth is very different to what Villeneuve said. I still think Kimi will win a race this season when the weekend is spot on. You can see that the relationship between Kimi and the team is really good. Although there are problems, there is still a good atmosphere. Some in the media allege that they are breaking up, but the real situation is quite the opposite. The team has full respect for Kimi, and Kimi respects the team,” Salo insisted.

Video: Sky Sports interview with Kimi

Source: | Translation courtesy of Miezicat


Q: After two years in rally you make a good impression on your F1 comeback compared to Michael Schumacher. He had problems at the beginning. Is that the age? You are 10 years younger, what is your secret?
KR: There is no secret. I just try to give the best all the time. As long you don’t win you are not 100% happy and sometimes you..

Q: But how was it to come back?
KR: The same. It hasn’t changed. Same people, some in different teams. Biggest change were the tyres but that wasn’t so difficult as expected.

Q: After your second place in Bahrain you didn’t really look happy. Why that?
KR: Like I said you can’t be 100% happy if you don’t win. It’s more dissappointing when you are so close but it doesn’t happen. When you are 20 seconds behind in second it’s different.

Q: It’s very funny. Sebastian (Vettel) says that at badminton you are as ambitious as on track. Is that true?
KR: We have always a good time at badminton but I think he takes it more serious than me, he is a bit younger.. that was for me too in the past but now I’m more relaxed.

Q: So he is more ambitious?
KR: Yeah and it hurts him more when he loses. He is a straight forward guy and no bullshit.

Q: I notice that you really changed. Now you talk a lot.
KR: But I don’t care what people think about me.

Kimi: “Frustrating weekend but important thing is points for championship”


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A frustrating weekend for Kimi nonetheless culminated in a top ten finish and more points on the board in Montréal. Despite hoping for more from the Canadian Grand Prix, the Iceman looks at the positives moving ahead to Valencia…

Q: Kimi, a tough race in Canada yesterday; what was your view of events?

KR: The result was not too bad in the end. We improved a few places from our starting position – including one on the first lap – but we could have been a few positions higher up if things had gone differently for us. I got stuck behind slower cars for quite a long time and unfortunately when we made the pit stop we couldn’t quite get the jump on them. It’s a shame but that’s racing.

Q: You had a few issues with the car in qualifying; how did it feel compared to the rest of the weekend?

KR: The car was much better in the race for sure. Obviously we had the hydraulic issue which meant the diff wasn’t working properly in qualifying, but even without that I think the higher temperatures yesterday helped us and I could push the car much more than in the previous sessions. I wasn’t completely happy with it, but it was a big improvement and we’ve seen the car go well at another different circuit which is encouraging for the future.

Q: Overtaking was predicted to be much easier here than at some other tracks, but it seemed more difficult than initially suggested…

KR: We thought it would be ok, but it wasn’t so easy to overtake in the end. The DRS zone wasn’t very long and it didn’t last for the whole straight, so it was hard to get a good tow from the car in front. If we had been a bit higher up in qualifying I think it would have made a big difference, but that’s how it goes sometimes.

Q: If you could sum up the weekend, what would you say?

KR: A bit frustrating overall as I think we could have achieved more from the weekend. Still, we’ve gained more points for the championship which is the most important thing, so we’ll move on and try to do better next time.

Lotus boss Eric Boullier:

Grosjean is now just two points behind team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in the drivers’ standings, and Boullier says that extra work needs to be done in also helping the Finn improve his qualifying performances.

“We definitely need to help Kimi, as they have different driving styles,” he said. “We had this issue in Canada with the differential which doesn’t help, but we need to work on helping him qualify better. For the race there is no issue.”

Canada Grand Prix – Results: 8th

Source: | | twitter |

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Key Moments:

Lap 1 – Romain drops one place to Paul Di Resta through the first chicane, Kimi jumps above Kamui Kobayashi (P8 / P11 respectively)
Lap 6 – Both drivers profit from Felipe Massa’s spin at Turn 2 to move into P7 / P10
Lap 14 – Kimi passes Jenson Button, Romain sets the fastest lap of the race
Lap 21 – Romain pits for soft tyres
Lap 38 – Nico Rosberg pits for the second time, promoting Romain one position
Lap 41 – Kimi pits for super softs, passing Nico Rosberg
Lap 42 – Nico Rosberg re-passes Kimi, Sergio Perez also jumps the Finn in the stops
Lap 52 – Mark Webber pits, Romain up to P4
Lap 58 – Felipe Massa pits, Kimi up to P8
Lap 63 – Sebastian Vettel pits, Romain up to P3
Lap 66 – Romain passes Fernando Alonso to take P2
Lap 70 – Romain crosses the line in P2, Kimi in P8


A clean getaway for both drivers, with Romain slightly cautious through the first two turns; consequently losing a place to Paul Di Resta and dropping to P8. Kimi quickly moved past Kamui Kobayashi on the first lap to take P11, before closing straight onto the back of Jenson Button.

With 10 laps down, Romain found himself sitting right under the rear wing of Nico Rosberg in P6 while Kimi continued to pressure the aforementioned McLaren which was struggling in the early stages on the soft tyres.

Lap 14 brought a roar of excitement from the Lotus F1 Team garage, as Kimi passed Jenson Button into the final chicane with a DRS assisted move, surging away from the McLaren as soon as he hit clear air. Romain meanwhile was busy setting the fastest lap of the race, adding to the delight of the crew. Lap 21 saw the team’s first stop of the day, with Romain making the switch to the yellow marked soft compound Pirelli tyres and emerging just behind Nico Rosberg – the same position he had occupied previously.

As half distance approached, the race settled into a consistent pattern with Romain hanging on to the coat tails of Nico Rosberg, and Kimi doggedly continuing on the same soft tyres with which he started the race; matching the paced of the cars ahead despite sporting significantly more worn rubber. With Nico Rosberg pitting on lap 38, Romain finally found himself in clean air and flew straight up to the back Mark Webber. Kimi meanwhile pitted for his first and only stop three laps later; taking on the red marked super soft compound tyres and simultaneously following his team-mate in leapfrogging the Mercedes.

This was not to last however, as the German used his DRS to re-pass the Finn into the final chicane on the following lap. Unfortunately for the 2007 World Champion, this battle also allowed Sergio Perez to move past following the Mexican’s stop, demoting Kimi a further position. As the field finally reshuffled following the stops, Romain found himself in P5 with Kimi now inside the points positions in P9. Webber’s second stop on lap 52 gifted Romain yet another position – now up to P4 with Kimi subsequently clambering all over the back of the Red Bull as it emerged from the pit lane.

Lap 58 saw Felipe Massa forced to dive into the pits as his tyres fell off the cliff, with Kimi profiting to take P8 and continuing to press the back of Mark Webber. Just 5 laps later and Sebastian Vettel also caved to the degradation from his tyres, diving in for fresh rubber and promoting Romain into the podium places. The Frenchman then latched onto the back of Fernando Alonso, who was similarly struggling to make the end of the race on severely worn tyres.

Just a few laps later and Romain was putting heavy pressure on the Ferrari, eventually passing the Spaniard on lap 66 to take P2 with just a few laps to spare, before amazingly starting to close on leader Lewis Hamilton. As the chequered flag dropped, Romain crossed the line to take P2 – the best result of his F1 career to date – with Kimi bringing his E20 home in P8 to complete a good haul of points for the team.

 1.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           1h32:29.586
 2.  Grosjean      Lotus-Renault              +     2.513
 3.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +     5.260
 4.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           +     7.295
 5.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +    13.411
 6.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +    13.842
 7.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +    15.085
 8.  Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault              +    15.567
 9.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +    24.432
10.  Massa         Ferrari                    +    25.272
11.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +    37.693
12.  Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes       +    46.236
13.  Maldonado     Williams-Renault           +    47.052
14.  Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +  1:04.475
15.  Vergne        Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +     1 lap
16.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +     1 lap
17.  Senna         Williams-Renault           +     1 lap
18.  Kovalainen    Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
19.  Petrov        Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
20.  Pic           Marussia-Cosworth          +    2 laps

Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:15.752

Not classified/retirements: 
Driver-------Team---------------------On lap
Glock         Marussia-Cosworth            57
Schumacher    Mercedes                     34
De la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth                 25
Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth                 23

World Championship standings, round 7: 
 1.  Hamilton      88        1.  Red Bull-Renault          164
 2.  Alonso        86        2.  McLaren-Mercedes          133
 3.  Vettel        85        3.  Lotus-Renault             108
 4.  Webber        79        4.  Ferrari                    97
 5.  Rosberg       67        5.  Mercedes                   69
 6.  Raikkonen     55        6.  Sauber-Ferrari             58
 7.  Grosjean      53        7.  Williams-Renault           44
 8.  Button        45        8.  Force India-Mercedes       28
 9.  Perez         37        9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari          6
10.  Maldonado     29       
11.  Kobayashi     21       
12.  Di Resta      21       
13.  Senna         15       
14.  Massa         11       
15.  Hulkenberg     7       
16.  Vergne         4       
17.  Schumacher     2       
18.  Ricciardo      2

Lotus team quotes:

Kimi Raikkonen – 8th: “The car was a bit better in the race than it was in qualifying. I seemed to get stuck behind people a few times. The DRS zone is not very long, and it’s still a difficult battle if the car ahead of you is also using the DRS. We had a chance to do a bit better, but it didn’t quite all come together today. We scored points again so that’s always a good thing, especially this season. Qualifying yesterday wasn’t perfect so obviously that left us with more work to do. If you start further forward it’s easier to finish higher up the order. We’ll try to achieve that in the next race. “

Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “Today’s result is due to very good team work and keeping focused on the task at hand. The E20 was very well setup for the race, our strategies worked for both cars to finish much higher than they started and both drivers drove superbly. Romain drove an excellent race and P2 is superb for the whole team, especially everyone at Enstone who keeps pushing to develop every area of the car. We know that if we can get more in qualifying we will be able to achieve even better things in the races, so that is our task ahead.”

Alan Permane, Director of Trackside Operations: “Today all went very much to plan. Coming into the race we were fairly confident that we could do a one stop strategy; it would be a bit tight on the tyres, but it was clear from Friday that the tyres had the pace and the durability to do one stop. Today was a lot hotter, and we had a fall back of a two stop strategy, which we didn’t need. Romain did everything he needed today and it’s a well deserved result. For Kimi we used the opposite tyre strategy from Romain by starting him on the soft tyre and it worked for him to finish four places higher than he started in what was a very competitive race. It’s two very solid drives we’ve had today so we’re very happy to bounce back from Monaco in emphatic fashion. “


Exclusive interview – Kimi: Ah…I said I ‘hope’ my time will come!


Qualifying is not Kimi Raikkonen’s real strength – not so far in 2012, anyway. But when it counts he is there whenever points are within reach. If this is his pattern, then Sunday’s Montreal race should again see him bagging a good result. At least that’s what the Finn’s gut feeling tells him, despite a P12 grid slot…

Q: Kimi, out in Q2 – how did that come about?
Well, we had a small issue with the hydraulics on the car and that cost us a bit. That’s a real shame.

Q: Do I sense a light irritation over that?
Of course you want to be more in front, but things like that happen…

Q: What is it that is still standing between you and a victory for Lotus?
My guess is that we still have to get stronger in qualifying, as that would give us a better chance to fight for points. So my plan for tomorrow is to fight back. And, of course, the aim always is to win, but sometimes it is better to fight for a good position and bag good points. If the win comes it comes! (laughs)

Q: You said recently that your time will come. When will that be? Which pieces have to fall into place?
Ah, I said that I hope my time will come. (laughs) In the end it is only small details that you have to get right, to eliminate small mistakes, as they cost you a lot these days. I have to keep working and to improve the car with my engineers – then there is nothing to be said against a win.

Q: We hear words like ‘lottery’ in relation to the tyres, but never ‘full throttle’. Are we on the way to the casino or still on the track?
No, that’s bull. There is nothing wrong with the tyres. You just have to get them working and try to make them last the whole race. (laughs) That is sometimes a bit tricky, but no rocket science.

Q: In your analysis, what will determine race wins – and hence the championship?
A good car and a bad car. Okay, that is a bit too simple: you have to have a good package. But if you have a good car as a basis it gives you a much bigger chance, as the likelihood that the tyres will fall your way is much bigger. It is never just the tyres – that is a fairytale. It is not like if the tyres work at Marussia then they will start winning races – that will not happen, no matter how you look at it.

Q: During testing and at the start of the season the opinion was ‘forget about Ferrari this year’. Now Fernando Alonso is leading the drivers’ standings. Why?
Obviously they’ve been doing things right lately – and other people have probably made more mistakes then their usual rate. And there you have it. Even if they haven’t got the fastest car they are able to score points. And in the meantime they’ve also improved the car – that helps.

Q: Ferrari and Lotus both have 86 points. Who will gain the upper hand?
I have no idea. I cannot see into the future. (laughs) All I know is that we have to work hard, score good points, then we should be competitive. And for that you don’t need to look into a crystal ball, you just have to work.

Q: In Monaco you raced with the name James Hunt on your helmet. What did you see in him? Where do you see a connection between you? Soul mates?
To cut a long story short, I like the times when he raced as I believe they had more fun than we have now. Would I have loved to race in those days? I not only cannot see into the future, I also cannot connect to the past. It is just that I believe the fun factor was higher, that’s all.

Q: Has it something to do with Lotus team principal Eric Boullier calling you a ‘wild animal’ that needs to ‘run free’? The ‘don’t fence me in’ character?
I am sure he had his reasons to say that. (laughs) Fact is that I like to do my own thing, but I’ve never made a secret out of this.

Q: Your team mate seems to be a tough cookie. So far he has beaten you 5:2 in qualifying, but in the races you have had the upper hand. Is that down to experience and not panicking if Saturday doesn’t go your way?
I knew that he would be fast, no matter how his first F1 experience was. He’s doing well and that is good for the team. I’m not giving away any secrets when I say that it is the Sunday when you get the points. I was always somebody who likes to focus on the essentials. (laughs)

Q: It’s been quite a while since you’ve raced in Canada and from your eight starts you’ve had one win, one P3 and several P4 and P5 positions. After qualifying today what are your thoughts?
This is a tricky track and it is not so easy to get the car right here. The numerous kerbs in combination with the low downforce – that’s a challenge. It is a nice circuit.

Q: Despite the hiccups in qualifying, what’s your gut feeling for the race?
Believe it or not I have a good feeling for Sunday. I might be wrong, but that is my feeling. I think that I should have a good race. This track allows a lot if you have the right speed. And as this is a track prone to safety-car phases, it could be a funny race.

Q: What would make you happy?
Top five. No, actually better – top three. So let’s see what we can do.

Lotus F1 Team Q&A with Kimi:

Q: Kimi, P12 was not what you would have hoped for from qualifying; tell us about it from your perspective…

KR: We had a hydraulic issue which meant the diff wasn’t working the way it should do. It started in Q1 and the rest of the session was quite difficult from there. The car actually felt ok, but it was tricky to push hard for a fast time. Of course it’s disappointing and we definitely lost a bit of time because of it, but these things happen and we’re confident it will be fine for the race.

Q: How are the super soft tyres around here, and do you think they will play a big part in the result?

KR: To be honest, there’s nothing wrong with the tyres; it’s just about getting them working in the right window and making them last so you can run as quick as possible for as long as possible. The tyres play their part, but you need a good car in very area if you want to be fighting at the front. Our car has looked good on long runs all season and degradation is quite low here, so I don’t think there are any big worries there.

Q: You came through from P11 to take P2 in Bahrain; are you confident of repeating that performance here in Canada?

KR: You can never know these things until you reach the chequered flag. We’ve been stronger in the race than in qualifying and testing at every circuit this year, so fingers crossed for a good result. It’s meant to be a bit warmer again today and our car generally goes better in hot conditions. This is where the points are won, not in practice or qualifying. We’ll try to get a good start, avoid any problems in the first few corners and see where we go from there.

Canada Grand Prix – Qualifying Results: P12

Source: | report: | twitter |

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Qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix saw Kimi and Romain separated in the standings for the first time all weekend, as the Frenchman quickly found his feet at the Montréal circuit while the Finn narrowly missed the cut for the pole position shoot-out.

Qualifying 1

Both drivers sailed through to the second session with strong early laps set on the yellow marked soft compound Pirelli tyres. Kimi emerged briefly on the super soft tyres to put a banker time on the board, pushing the Finn into the top 10.

Key Moments:

9mins: Both drivers set strong mid-session times to sit side-by-side, well inside the top 10
12mins: Rivals begin to emerge on super soft tyres, times begin to tumble with the Finn and Frenchman sliding down the order
15mins: Kimi emerges for a stint on the super softs
20mins: Romain remains in the pits, just making it through without having to use the super softs. Kimi jumps up to P9 on his final lap using the option tyres

Qualifying 2

Kimi and Romain departed the garage on the red marked super soft compound Pirelli tyres, which were used throughout. Romain put in a strong lap at the death to progress to the pole position shoot-out in P7, Kimi meanwhile made an early exit in P12.

Key Moments:

5mins: Romain sets his first flying lap; good enough for P8 in the early stages
7mins: Kimi jumps into the top 10 with his initial effort
12mins: Both drivers emerge for their final stints
15mins: Romain crosses the line with a last gasp effort to take P7; Kimi fails to improve, exiting qualifying in P12

Qualifying 3

The sole remaining E20 in the hands of Romain set a time good enough for P2 at the halfway stage, emerging with moments to spare for a last attempt on fresh super soft tyres and taking a final grid slot of P7.

Key Moments:

5mins: Romain sets his first time; initially occupying P2
8mins: The Frenchman starts his final stint on a new set of super soft tyres, taking P7 with his last lap of the day

 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m13.784s         
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m14.087s + 0.303 
 3.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m14.151s + 0.367 
 4.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m14.346s + 0.562 
 5.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m14.411s + 0.627 
 6.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m14.465s + 0.681 
 7.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m14.645s + 0.861 
 8.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m14.705s + 0.921 
 9.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m14.812s + 1.028 
10.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m15.182s + 1.398 
Q2 cut-off time: 1m14.680s Gap **
11.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m14.688s  + 0.501
12.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault        1m14.734s  + 0.547
13.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes 1m14.748s  + 0.561
14.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m15.078s  + 0.891
15.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       1m15.156s  + 0.969
16.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault     1m15.170s  + 0.983
17.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault     1m15.231s  + 1.044
Q1 cut-off time: 1m15.552s Gap *
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault     1m16.263s  + 1.602
19.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault     1m16.482s  + 1.821
20.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m16.602s  + 1.941
21.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth         1m17.492s  + 2.831
22.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth    1m17.901s  + 3.240
23.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth    1m18.255s  + 3.594
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         1m18.330s  + 3.669

Lotus team quotes:

Kimi Raikkonen – 12th: “Obviously it’s disappointing to go out in Q2 but we had some issues with the differential which meant the car wasn’t handling as it should. When the grid is so tight it makes a big difference not having the car exactly as you like it. Still, we had no issues on the long runs yesterday, we have options to choose from with the tyres, and the warmer weather is definitely suiting us better so hopefully we can put everything right before tomorrow and go from there. The race is where it counts, so let’s see what we can do.”

Canada Grand Prix – Final Practice Results

Source: | | twitter |

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Perfect conditions for Free Practice 3 at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve this morning saw Kimi and Romain conduct extensive work on the two Pirelli tyre compounds; the pair placing their E20’s firmly inside the top 10 to finish line astern for the third consecutive session.

Clear blue skies and glorious sunshine created the ideal setting for the final practice session of the weekend this morning. Kimi and Romain flew out of the traps for their install laps at the very start of the session, both sporting fresh sets of the yellow marked soft compound Pirelli tyres.

With 10 minutes elapsed, Kimi emerged for his first run and instantly lit up the timing screens; going fastest for a brief moment before being ousted by Jenson Button. Romain followed shortly afterwards; his initial effort placing him in P5.

20 minutes into the session and a slight hindrance as Jean-Eric Vergne parked his Toro Rosso in the barriers at Turn 2, but luckily just yellow flags this time around resulting in minimal impact on running.

With 20 minutes to go, Kimi had put some good mileage under the wheels of his E20 as the Finn continued to tinker with setup options on the soft tyres, while Romain had certainly shown no signs of his inexperience at this circuit; planting his car firmly inside the top 5 with his first effort on the super softs.

10 minutes remaining and both drivers took to the track for their final runs; identical sets of red marked super soft compound Pirelli tyres for both E20s. The pair immediately jumped into the top 10; Kimi in P7 and Romain in P6.

With just moments remaining, Kimi found himself all crossed up coming into the final chicane and opted to abandon what had been looking like a quick lap by plunging into the pit lane mid-corner, joined in the garage shortly afterwards by his team-mate as the final few minutes of running ticked away.

As the chequered flag dropped on an incredibly tight session – the top 15 drivers covered by just over a second – a flurry of late activity saw a significant re-shuffle of the order. Once the dust settled, Kimi finished the morning in P9 with a fastest time of 1:14.977 from 21 laps, while Romain heads into qualifying having set a lap good enough for P8 – his best effort a 1:14.873 from 20 laps.

 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1m14.442            22
 2.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1m14.448s  + 0.006  17
 3.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1m14.712s  + 0.270  19
 4.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1m14.724s  + 0.282  21
 5.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1m14.755s  + 0.313  22
 6.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1m14.767s  + 0.325  21
 7.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1m14.796s  + 0.354  19
 8.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1m14.873s  + 0.431  20
 9.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1m14.977s  + 0.535  21
10.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1m14.992s  + 0.550  22
11.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1m15.067s  + 0.625  19
12.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1m15.112s  + 0.670  21
13.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1m15.126s  + 0.684  24
14.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1m15.237s  + 0.795  22
15.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m15.327s  + 0.885  22
16.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m15.498s  + 1.056  19
17.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1m16.268s  + 1.826  24
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1m16.545s  + 2.103  20
19.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1m17.705s  + 3.263  21
20.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1m17.974s  + 3.532  23
21.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1m18.189s  + 3.747  21
22.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1m18.684s  + 4.242  23
23.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    no time             3 
24.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              no time             1