Kimi Raikkonen believes that the warmer temperatures expected over the Canadian Grand Prix weekend will play into the Lotus team’s hands.
The Lotus cars were 14th and 15th quickest in both free practice sessions on Friday, with Romain Grosjean narrowly faster than Raikkonen both times.
However, like several other teams in the paddock Lotus did more work in the first session than would usually be the case because of rain showers that were expected to disrupt the afternoon running.
Raikkonen believes that the team had a good day regardless of what the timesheets suggest, and he thinks that the better weather expected for Saturday and Sunday will suit the E20.
“Overall the feeling was OK,” said Raikkonen in the Montreal paddock. “I’m probably missing a little bit of overall grip, but it was quite cool today and it should get a bit warmer. Usually that helps us to get the tyre working better.
“I think we should be OK. If we can get the tyres working slightly better then that will help a lot.”
Raikkonen also feels that Lotus is not going to have many problems with tyre degradation in the race on Sunday.
“[On the super soft tyre] there were no problems at all for us,” he added. “I think we did more than 20 laps with it and the tyres seemed to be OK still.
“Maybe for some people it will be more of an issue [in hotter conditions]. But usually when it is hotter the tyres seem to work better for us.”
Another busy schedule of setup tweaks and tyre analysis set the tone for Free Practice 2 at the circuit Gilles-Villeneuve this afternoon, with Kimi and Romain continuing the extensive testing programme of the morning.
The rain which had threatened to wreak havoc during the second of today’s sessions never arrived, as the cool and overcast conditions from the morning remained giving the teams a consistent platform for data collection and setup testing.
As the green lights appeared signalling the start of afternoon running in Montréal, Kimi and Romain once again took to the circuit immediately to gain as much track time as possible – the Finn on a used set of super soft tyres, the Frenchman on scrubbed softs.
With the first runs completed – Kimi setting the early pace in the session – the 2007 World Champion joined his team-mate with a switch to the yellow marked soft compound Pirelli tyres as the pair continued to rack up the laps.
A distinct sense of déjà vu swept through the paddock shortly afterwards, as the red flags emerged for the second time of the day – this time for Bruno Senna’s Williams, which had suffered a heavy impact with the infamous ‘Wall of Champions’ on the exit of the final corner.
With running back underway, both Kimi and Romain headed back out for long runs on scrubbed sets of soft tyres, setting consistent if unspectacular times as the team sought to analyse the E20 rather than aiming for outright pace.
Perhaps the team’s Canadian Grand Prix Twitter campaign promoting #GroundHogDay as a tagline will prove to be rather apt this weekend, as a double dose of familiar happenings came in the form of the session’s final result.
As the afternoon’s running came to its conclusion, Kimi ended the day in P15 with a best time of 1:16.562 from 33 laps, while Romain crossed the line to finish narrowly ahead of his team-mate; his best effort of 1:16.360 from 29 laps good enough for P14.
Pos-Driver---------------Team--------------------Time--------------Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m15.259s 43 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m15.313s + 0.054 36 3. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m15.410s + 0.151 39 4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m15.531s + 0.272 44 5. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m15.544s + 0.285 32 6. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m15.651s + 0.392 37 7. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m15.697s + 0.438 32 8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m15.799s + 0.540 39 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m15.812s + 0.553 14 10. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m15.878s + 0.619 40 11. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m15.898s + 0.639 38 12. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m15.907s + 0.648 41 13. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m15.987s + 0.728 39 14. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m16.360s + 1.101 29 15. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m16.562s + 1.303 33 16. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m16.981s + 1.722 24 17. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m17.022s + 1.763 22 18. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m17.075s + 1.816 41 19. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m17.124s + 1.865 41 20. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m17.716s + 2.457 34 21. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m18.908s + 3.649 27 22. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m19.084s + 3.825 40 23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m19.378s + 4.119 21 24. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m19.902s + 4.643 18
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was an okay day for us. We expected rain in the afternoon so we used the super soft tyres in the morning to make sure we could do some long runs, and we completed everything we needed to do today as the rain didn’t come until later. I’m not 100 percent happy with my setup and I think we’re missing a trick somewhere. It’s not a major issue, but I know we can go faster. Let’s see how it goes tomorrow, anything can happen and hopefully it’s a little warmer as that usually seems to help.”
Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director: “In FP1 we attempted to condense the programmes of both FP1 and FP2 into a single session. The red flag period interrupted this somewhat. Some of the expected rain came before the FP2 session, but not sufficiently to disrupt running so we were able to complete a good number of laps, despite another red flag period. We evaluated our new Montréal specification rear wing and ran race simulations. Our base setup appears to work solidly, with the Montréal specification rear wing delivering the expected performance. We are still working on refining the setup to ensure both drivers are happy. Our position in the times does not reflect our pace due to the different programme we ran today.”
James Allison, Lotus technical director: “We ran the option tyres in first practice with some high fuel loads. The rain held off so we ended up running just one set of tyres for second practice which is why our times looked a little bit slower than others’. Neither driver was 100 percent happy with their car, so we spent some time working with set-up changes. Romain felt his car was a little too biased to the front, but he was much happier with the changes made. Kimi paid attention to improving his car over the kerbs as it was a little bit too harsh to start with; steadily improving through the day. I’m confident our finishing positions in FP2 will not reflect where we’ll be in qualifying tomorrow.”
Plenty of track time for Kimi and Romain during the opening session at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve this morning as preparations began for the weekend’s action.
Overcast but dry conditions kicked off running in Montréal this morning, with Lotus F1 Team opting for a condensed schedule; the focus on attaining as much data as possible during the opening session to counter the threat of rain this afternoon.
With this in mind, both E20’s departed their respective garages with just seconds elapsed in the session, both sporting matching sets of yellow marked soft compound Pirelli tyres for the install laps and opening stints.
With 10 minutes elapsed, Romain put in the fastest time of the early runners only to be ousted from top spot almost immediately by his team-mate. Slippery conditions on the green track surface were evident with the outside, with the nature of the circuit as a temporary street-based facility doubtless bringing significant track evolution over the course of the weekend.
25 minutes into the session and a few drops of rain began to fall, with Kimi in particular reporting a noticeable change to track conditions. This was demonstrated in heart-stopping fashion by Romain a few minutes later, as the Frenchman showed sharp reactions to catch a big slide through the third chicane.
Red flags interrupted proceedings with 40 minutes remaining as the Caterham of Heikki Kovalainen clipped the wall at the same spot which Romain had experienced a sideways moment minutes before. This came just at the wrong time for Kimi, who had just taken to the track for his first taste of the red marked super soft compound Pirelli tyres.
Frequent excursions onto the circuit by a variety of local wildlife failed to hinder progress for the remainder of the session, with Kimi and Romain racking up the laps on both tyre compounds while the mechanics relentlessly tweaked the cars in search of the ultimate setup.
As the chequered flag dropped to end the session, Kimi found himself in P15 with a best time of 1:17.014 from a mammoth total of 42 laps, while Romain just edged his team mate in P14 – his best effort of 1:16.890 coming from 36 laps.
Pos--Driver---------------Team--------------------Time-------------Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m15.564 30 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m15.682s + 0.118 29 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m15.782s + 0.218 30 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m15.842s + 0.278 34 5. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m15.897s + 0.333 28 6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m15.986s + 0.422 29 7. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m16.000s + 0.436 31 8. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m16.249s + 0.685 32 9. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m16.264s + 0.700 28 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m16.347s + 0.783 12 11. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m16.460s + 0.896 32 12. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m16.619s + 1.055 17 13. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m16.859s + 1.295 25 14. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m16.890s + 1.326 36 15. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m17.014s + 1.450 41 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m17.352s + 1.788 28 17. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m17.580s + 2.016 31 18. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m17.935s + 2.371 23 19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m18.177s + 2.613 16 20. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m18.182s + 2.618 26 21. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m18.762s + 3.198 36 22. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m19.354s + 3.790 23 23. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m20.004s + 4.440 21 24. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m20.067s + 4.503 23