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.
Pos--Driver--------------Team------------------Time--------------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
P15 for Kimi in both Free Practice sessions at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve yesterday after an intense programme of setup work for the Finn. Although the result may not seem so positive, the 2007 World Champion is optimistic about his chances for the weekend…
Q: Kimi, how was your first day back on track in Canada?
KR: It was a bit of a strange day yesterday. We expected there to be rain in the afternoon so we tried to do all the running we needed in the morning session and used most of our super soft tyres in the process. We didn’t really lose anything by doing this as the conditions were pretty much the same in second session. We achieved what we wanted; we tried a few different things with the setup, and our position in the times did not tell the full story of where we’ll be this weekend.
Q: How did the E20 feel around Montréal? From what you’ve seen so far, will making the super soft tyres last be an issue?
KR: Overall the car felt ok. It was quite cool yesterday and we were probably missing a bit of grip compared to what we’d like, but it’s due to get warmer during the rest of the weekend which should suit us a bit more and also help get the tyres working better. We had no problems with tyre degradation at all during either session. I did over twenty laps with one set and they seemed to be fine so I think we should be in good shape.
Q: Does being down in P15 during both sessions today concern you at all?
KR: I’ve been around that kind of position during practice at every race this year and it’s always worked out ok so far! I’ve said all along, it doesn’t matter what position you are in practice as long as you get the work done that you need and learn everything you can before the weekend. At the end of the day there are no points for practice – you can be top of every test session, but if you can’t compete on Sunday it means nothing.