Source: ts.fi | Translation courtesy of Nicole
Kimi Räikkönen has, together with Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg, driven every race lap in all 11 races so far. In Hungary he achieved the third 2nd podium. Räikkönen had to prove to all tv-viewers how impossible it is to overtake a fast car in Hungaroring.
“In order to overtake on this track we would need in addition to the DRS-wing a car that would have been at least one second faster than the one driving ahead. Now we didn’t have that car,” Räikkönen’s race engineer Mark Slade told Turun Sanomat.
Then where did Räikkönen lose the victory then – in qualification or in the unsuccessful start with his half-powered KERS?
“Absolutely in the qualification. In order to win Kimi would have had to get at least to P2 or P3. From there he could have gone straight after Hamilton,” Slade said.
Then which of these three 2nd podiums have been closest to victory?
“We got closest in Bahrain. Now the car wasn’t as fast as it was there,” Slade evaluated.
The second half of the season looks good.
“We get to go to Belgium in a good stitch, where Kimi has won 4 out of his last 5 races. Lately we have learned a lot about the car and are in better positions in qualifications also,” Slade got excited.
Kimi was asked after the race if he feels he is driving for this year’s WDC.
“That’s how I have thought during the whole season – more or less,” he said. “Now we are again closer to the top, although we dropped down one position. As long as we get ourselves in good grids where we can race for trophies, we probably get more higher in points also during the second half of the season.”
“The car is going in the right direction. We just have to take everything out of it, then hopefully the victories also start coming,” Räikkönen said.
Lotus expects Kimi Raikkonen to commit himself to another year with the team, despite the Finn being linked with Ferrari.
It emerged over the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend that Raikkonen is on the list of contenders at Ferrari if the team elects to replace Felipe Massa in 2013, despite a strained relationship between the 2007 world champion and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.
Neither Raikkonen nor Ferrari moved to totally dismiss the idea at the Hungaroring, but Lotus team principal Eric Boullier says he is not worried because he sees no better option for his driver than staying where he is.
“It is nice that Ferrari is in the newspapers, but I don’t know that Kimi has plans to go back to Ferrari,” explained Boullier, who saw Raikkonen challenge for victory at the Hungaroring.
When asked if he expected to keep both Raikkonen and team-mate Romain Grosjean next year, Boullier said: “Definitely. There is no reason for them to leave.”
Ferrari insists it is still happy to bide its time over choosing its second driver for 2012, even though that may mean losing an outside chance it could have of luring Raikkonen away.
Team principal Stefano Domenicali said: “Kimi was a world champion with us and I saw the speculation in the media but nothing more than that.
“I can confirm what I said to you last week; basically we are not in a rush to make a decision or announce anything because we want to take our time.
“We are aligned with Felipe and we want to protect him, and it is important for this championship. So there is nothing new to report.”
When asked to categorically rule out interest in either Raikkonen or Jenson Button, who was linked with the team in reports in the Italian media, Domenicali said: “There is no rush on our decision and no information I can give you now, but I think the drivers you mentioned have contracts with other teams and we are not in a rush.”
F1 editor Adam Hay Nicholls’ opinion on Ferrari ditching Kimi:
Another storming drive from Kimi to rise up through the ranks and clinch second place – his fifth podium of the season. The Iceman though, has no intention of letting up in his Championship charge…
Q: Kimi, so close to the win but it didn’t quite come ; are you happy to take second place away from this weekend ?
KR: You can come as close as you like to a win, but at the end of the day we didn’t get it so there’s no point worrying about it. I had an ok start but then we had an issue with the KERS and I could only use fifty per cent of it and lost a position to Fernando [Alonso]. From there the first few laps were not so good because we were trying to get the KERS working but after that it was fine. Unfortunately I was stuck in traffic for quite a long time, so I just tried to save my tyres and push once we got some clear track. It seemed to work both times and we gained a lot of time on those few laps.
Q: It all got a bit close with Romain in the first corner ; just how tight was that ?
KR: The team told me it’s going to be very close after my stop and I made a mistake with the pit lane speed limiter so for maybe five extra metres after the line I was still on it. Luckily there was still enough of a gap and although we were side-by-side in the first corner I could keep my position quite easily. It was just one of those things.
Q: Did you feel like you has a shot at passing Lewis [Hamilton] with the DRS at any stage ?
KR: Not really to be honest. It was not so bad following the car in front through the last corner but in the turbulent air you’re always going to be about a second later on the power so they just pull too far away. The straight is not long enough to catch up so even the DRS didn’t really give you any chance to overtake. My only real hope was that he would run out of the tyres and then we would have had a shot but that never happened. If there were maybe twenty more laps it could have been a different story.
Q: It’s another case of ‘so close yet so far’ this weekend ; surely that win is on the way…
KR: We always try to win ; some days you get close to it and it’s a bit disappointing that we haven’t quite made that final step. We know the reason though ; we’ve not been so strong in qualifying as we have in the race which makes life harder for ourselves on Sundays. Of course we would rather win than come second or third but it’s a long season and I think we’re improving all the time. If it comes then great, if not we’ll keep trying. I’ve been in the business long enough that I don’t really worry about things too much. We’ve improved our position in the championship both for myself and for the team, so as long as we keep doing that hopefully the win will come.
Q: Did you have a chance Kimi, with the DRS?
KR: Ah, no. It was not so bad to follow through the last corner but you’re, I don’t know, one second later on the power every time so they just pull too far away and the straight is not long enough and the others are too fast. So it didn’t really give you any chance. My only chance was that they would run out of the tyres and then you will have a chance – but that never happened, so we probably should have had 20 more laps – and then it would have happened.
Q. So, are you happy with second place or did you feel you could have won it?
KR: I didn’t, so there’s no point to worry about it. I had an OK start but then we had an issue with the KERS and I only could use 50 per cent and I lost one position to Fernando, so the first few laps were not really good because we were trying to get the KERS working. After that it was OK but the same situation with Alonso, I was stuck behind him and just tried to save my tyres and push once we got the clear circuit. It seemed to work both times and we gained a lot of time on those few laps.
Q. And what about the time you came out of the pits and found yourself alongside Romain?
KR: Yeah. The team told me it’s going to be very close and I made a mistake with the pit lane speed limiter so it meant maybe five metres after the line I was still on it, so I thought that I really didn’t do a very good job out of there – but luckily it was enough gap and we were side-by-side in the first corner, but I could keep my position quite easily at that point. But it was one of those things: we had a lot of speed but just couldn’t use it in all the race.
Q. (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, you have been second three times when Lewis has won here. Have you ever been close to overtake him?
KR: I don’t know. It was a long time ago to remember the past. Today it wasn’t – it was many years. It makes no difference if you don’t get past. We were second best today and third. I think it was good for the team but of course we will keep trying to win and hopefully it will come soon.
Q. (Joo Gabor – Index) Kimi, it is your fourth second place this year, I think. Aren’t you getting a bit annoyed about this? Spa is coming up, are you confident that you can break it?
KR: I think I’ve only been second twice, not three times, I don’t know. Anyhow, we always try to win; some days you get close to it and it’s a bit disappointing that we cannot and we know the reason: we have not been so strong in qualifying and we keep making it very hard for ourselves on Sundays but it’s not annoying. We still keep putting ourselves in a good position to at least have a chance to win and get good results, good points for the team. Yeah, you would rather win than come second or third but it’s a long season and I think we’re improving all the time. If it comes it’s great, if not, we keep trying. I’ve been in the business long enough that I don’t really worry about things too much. We improved our position, our situation in the championship for myself and for the team. Maybe we are one place behind right now but we are closer to the front. As long as we keep doing that and hopefully the wins will come, then we will give myself and the team a good chance.
Lewis Hamilton fended off Kimi Raikkonen to claim victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix. A second double podium finish of the season for Lotus F1 Team, with Kimi leading Romain home at the Hungaroring after superb drives from both to bring a significant haul of points back to Enstone.
Lap 1: GRO battles hard to maintain P2, RAI drops to P6
Lap 2: RAI reports a KERS issue
Lap 5: Fastest lap for GRO; trades best times with HAM throughout the opening stint
Lap 19: GRO pits for fresh softs; slow getaway costs the Frenchman a shot at HAM
Lap 20: RAI does the same; strong stop and in-laps help him jump ALO
Lap 21: GRO fastest once more
Lap 36: RAI tops the lap time sheets this time, then again on the following lap
Lap 40: Second and final stop for GRO; new medium rubber
Lap 41: RAI reclaims the quickest time of the day
Lap 45: RAI pits for mediums, comes out ahead of GRO and VET in P2
Lap 69: Chequered flag; RAI P2, GRO P3
Blistering heat and clear blue skies provided the perfect backdrop for the Hungarian Grand Prix, with tension on a knife edge in the Lotus F1 Team garage as the countdown began to a race with plenty of potential for good results. Just to add to the pressure, a second formation lap enforced by race control brought cause for engine temperatures and heart rates alike to rise; Charlie Whiting not happy with the grid and demanding another tour of the track.
When the green lights eventually went out, a closely fought but clean start saw Romain bravely defend his second position against Sebastian Vettel into turn one, while Kimi – caught up in a tightly bunched pack – slipped down one place to sixth.
Flying in the early stages, the Frenchman remained glued to the back of leader Lewis Hamilton as the pair rapidly began to pull away from the pack; trading fastest laps along the way. The Finn meanwhile remained boxed behind Fernando Alonso; a lack of KERS hindering any attempts to pass the slower Ferrari in front.
The Lotus F1 Team pairing returned to base for their first change of rubber on laps nineteen and twenty respectively; a slow getaway for Romain costing him the change to close on the McLaren ahead, while good work from the mechanics combined with a couple of quick in-laps helped Kimi jump Fernando Alonso to re-take fifth place.
Finally unleashed from behind the Spaniard, the Finn immediately charged clear of the pack and began to close down the battle between Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button for the final podium slot.
Both E20s were flying in the middle phase of the race; edging closer to the cars in front as the front of the field increasingly closed up. The second round of stops however was where the race really began to heat up.
Stunning pace at the end of his middle stint brought Kimi right into the fray; jumping both Sebastian Vettel and his team-mate to clinch second place from the Frenchman in a heart stopping battle through the first corner.
With the pit wall breathing a huge sigh of relief to see both cars emerged unscathed from their tussle, the pair then proceeded to chase down the leading McLaren in flying formation.
With ten laps remaining, the front three were within just five seconds of each other; Kimi inching to within the DRS window of Lewis Hamilton and beginning to mount an attack on the McLaren as Romain kept a watching brief just behind.
Despite charging hard right to the death, a second double podium finish of the season would have to suffice as Kimi lead Romain home to take second and third respectively on a great day for the team.
Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1h41:05.503 2. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 1.032 3. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 10.518 4. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 11.614 5. Alonso Ferrari + 26.653 6. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 30.243 7. Senna Williams-Renault + 33.899 8. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 34.458 9. Massa Ferrari + 38.300 10. Rosberg Mercedes + 51.200 11. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 57.200 12. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:02.800 13. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1:03.600 14. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1:04.400 15. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap 16. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap 17. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap 18. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 2 laps 19. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 2 laps 20. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps 21. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 3 laps 22. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 3 laps Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:24.136 Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 63 Schumacher Mercedes 61 World Championship standings, round 11: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Alonso 164 1. Red Bull-Renault 246 2. Webber 124 2. McLaren-Mercedes 193 3. Vettel 122 3. Lotus-Renault 192 4. Hamilton 117 4. Ferrari 189 5. Raikkonen 116 5. Mercedes 106 6. Rosberg 77 6. Sauber-Ferrari 80 7. Grosjean 76 7. Williams-Renault 53 8. Button 76 8. Force India-Mercedes 46 9. Perez 47 9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6 10. Kobayashi 33 11. Maldonado 29 12. Schumacher 29 13. Di Resta 27 14. Massa 25 15. Senna 24 16. Hulkenberg 19 17. Vergne 4 18. Ricciardo 2
Videos: Kimi VS Romain after pitstop, podium ceremony, team radio, SkySports and BBC interview Kimi – James Allison – Eric Boullier
Kimi Raikkonen: “We always try to win and sometimes you get close and it is a bit disappointing that we cannot. We know the reason: we are not so strong in qualifying and make it hard for ourselves on Sunday. We should be able to put ourselves in a good position and get good points, but it is a long season. We are improving all the time, and if it comes, great, if not we keep trying. I have been in this business long enough to not worry about things too much. I didn’t [win], so there’s no point to worry about it.
I had an OK start but we had some issue with KERS and I could only use 50 per cent so I lost a position to Fernando [Alonso]. The first few laps were not good as we tried to get the KERS working. It makes no difference if you don’t get past. We were second and third today. It’s good for the team but we keep trying to win and hopefully it will come soon. The team told me it would be very close with Romain and I made a mistake with the speed limiter, maybe five metres after the line I was still on it, so I think I didn’t do a good enough job out there. We went side by side for the first corner but I could keep the position quite easily.”
Grosjean plays down Raikkonen clash – “It was close with Kimi, he did what he had to do,” Grosjean said. “I got marbles on my tyres and struggled to recover, but it is what it is. It was the same story with Kimi [as with Vettel] – I was inside of Seb so it was alright.”
Kimi Raikkonen – 2nd: “It’s a shame we couldn’t quite get the win but it’s a good result for the team and we’ll keep pushing to make that final step. My start was not too bad but then we had some issues with the KERS and I lost a place to Fernando [Alonso]. When we got it working again we were stuck in the pack so it was a bit frustrating, but once we were in clear air we could push and it looked like we could make up a few places in the second stops. The team said it would be very close with Romain, but it was okay in the end. We managed to catch Lewis [Hamilton] but it was impossible to pass.”
Romain Grosjean – 3rd: “It’s a good result for the team, but to be honest I’m a bit disappointed. We had a good battle for the lead with Lewis [Hamilton] all through the first two stints, but then I got stuck behind Michael [Schumacher] who didn’t respect the blue flags at all which cost me a lot of time. Because of this I lost a place to Kimi, and at the same time a possible chance to fight for the win. It’s very hard to overtake here; every time I came close to someone in front I would lose a bit of front end grip which made it impossible. Still, that’s racing and we’ve take home a lot of points for the Constructors’ Championship which is a real positive.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “Both cars on the podium end a pretty good weekend for the team. For everyone back at Enstone we must pay credit as they work so hard for results like this, but seldom get to taste the champagne at the track. I’m very happy that Romain came back after a tough weekend in Germany and I’m very happy to see Kimi fighting for the win. Our new approach to qualifying is delivering. We qualified better this weekend and we chased the leader of the race for many laps. On a different track layout which allows overtaking I think we could have won this race.”
James Allison, Technical Director: “It was an excellent race from both our drivers, from the E20 and from the whole team. We made very strong progress with a good haul of Drivers’ and Constructors’ points today. We’re only just past the halfway mark in the season so it’s not fantasy to think that we’re still in the hunt in both championships. The general trend is of our car getting stronger and I hope that we can press that home in the coming races.”
Kimi Raikkonen has emerged as a surprise contender to line up alongside Fernando Alonso at Ferrari next year, even though the Finn is closing in on a deal to remain at Lotus.
Ferrari is considering its driver options for 2013, with the team well aware it needs a team-mate to Alonso who can help contribute significantly to its constructors’ championship ambitions.
Felipe Massa has not yet delivered strong enough form this year to guarantee his seat, which has left Ferrari evaluating whether to hope his current upswing in form will continue into 2013 or whether it needs to look at other options.
A number of young drivers are on Ferrari’s radar – with Nico Hulkenberg, Paul di Resta, Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean all on the short-list of candidates for the drive.
However, Ferrari sources insist that the team has not seen enough from any of those drivers to be sure that they will be a definite step forward over Massa – which has resulted in Raikkonen emerging as a dark horse contender.
Although Raikkonen was dropped by Ferrari at the end of 2009, Ferrari sources suggest that senior figures inside the team believe he would be the perfect fit for next year – because of his speed, availability and likelihood that he would not cause any political problems.
However, the biggest stumbling block at any deal happening is believed to be the strained relationship between Raikkonen and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, who parted their previous working partnership on far from good terms.
Insiders suggest that di Montezemolo is not convinced about the Raikkonen route – while the driver himself has said in private that he too would be reluctant to work with his former boss again.
Ferrari will have to make a final call on Raikkonen soon if it is to have any hope of doing a deal, because he is getting close to confirming another season with Lotus.
AUTOSPORT understands that Raikkonen has already held technical meetings about the 2013 car at the Lotus factory, and there is every indication from him and the team that they intend to carry on together for at least one more year.
Raikkonen’s team-mate Grosjean is out of contract at the end of this year too, but his current strong form for Lotus makes it a no brainer for it to keep the Frenchman for another season.
Raikkonen: “I always said that I have no bad feelings and I had a good time with the team. I won one championship there. You never know what happens in the future. I am happy where I am right now. Things going pretty nicely. You never know what happens in the future and I am happy where I am.”
A productive morning in Budapest saw Kimi and Romain rack up the laps around the Hungaroring circuit, putting in strong times to place the E20s line astern and firmly inside the top ten before qualifying begins this afternoon.
An even hotter start to the day than we saw on Friday, with not a cloud in the sky as engine notes rose around Budapest to signify the start of free practice three. As usual, both E20s rocketed straight out of the traps for install runs; matching sets of white marked medium compound Pirelli tyres apiece.
Within ten minutes the pair were tearing round the Hungaroring circuit; aiming to find those last few setup tweaks ahead of qualifying this afternoon. It certainly seemed to be working in the early stages too; Kimi topping the times at the halfway point, with Romain close behind in fifth.
The Frenchman was busy putting the pit crew through their paces; a practice stop and front wing change on the schedule as part of race preparations this weekend… hopefully the latter being more of a precaution than a prediction!
As the minutes flew by and the session drew to a close, the pair of black and gold beauties emerged glinting in the sun for their final assault on the sweeping ribbon of tarmac. With lap times tumbling and many switching to the soft rubber, a captivating countdown to the chequered flag began.
The morning concluded in strong fashion for the team; Kimi and Romain heading into the break line astern in sixth and seventh with best times of 1:21.953 (20 laps) and 1:22.110 (24 laps) respectively
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m21.550s 27 2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m21.643 + 0.093 17 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m21.671s + 0.121 29 4. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m21.876s + 0.326 22 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m21.884s + 0.334 13 6. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m21.953s + 0.403 20 7. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m22.110s + 0.560 24 8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m22.136s + 0.586 15 9. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m22.191s + 0.641 20 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m22.233s + 0.683 24 11. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m22.381s + 0.831 21 12. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m22.387s + 0.837 20 13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m22.492s + 0.942 26 14. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m22.530s + 0.980 25 15. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m22.597s + 1.047 23 16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m22.716s + 1.166 24 17. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m22.868s + 1.318 30 18. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m22.931s + 1.381 30 19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m24.036s + 2.486 20 20. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m24.547s + 2.997 18 21. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m25.224s + 3.674 22 22. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m25.497s + 3.947 21 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m26.785s + 5.235 20 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m26.898s + 5.348 26
A varied schedule for Kimi in Budapest today saw the Iceman bring home some useful information for the team, and make quite an impression on the time sheets in the process…
Q: Kimi, plenty of useful development work in the first session and a strong result in the second; sum up your day for us
KR: It was a normal Friday really; we ran through a pretty regular schedule. In the first session my car wasn’t set up for the track as we were focused on testing some new parts but in the afternoon we had time to work on changing things to fit the circuit. The car felt good so it’s a positive start to the weekend.
Q: Did it put you on the back foot at all spending the first half of the day running an unusual setup?
KR: Not really, it’s the same with any new parts. We don’t have in-season testing any more so you have to try them out some time. We’ve made small improvements throughout the year by doing this so looking at how things work for the future can only help.
Q: You seemed much more comfortable with the car in Hockenheim and that seems to have carried over to Budapest…
KR: We’ve improved my setup quite a bit in the last few races and changed some things which probably weren’t quite as they should have been. I was happy with the car in the last race and it’s still improving here too. If you’re comfortable in the car you can start to push a bit further; the harder you can push the faster you can go. We’re really starting to get it as we want it now.
Q: Second position is one of the more promising Friday results we’ve seen from the team this season; does that bode well for the rest of the weekend in your eyes?
KR: We were second fastest today but it’s difficult to say what the others are doing. It’s only Friday, but let’s hope we can continue the pace from today, keep working hard to chase down the guys in front and see what happens from there.
Kimi Raikkonen believes he has now found what was ‘missing’ to enable him to get the most out of the Lotus and can translate that into a stronger second half of the 2012 Formula 1 season.
Although Raikkonen has enjoyed an impressive comeback campaign so far and goes into this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix fourth in the world championship, having claimed four podium finishes, the 2007 title-winner says he has only recently become comfortable with the Lotus E20.
“I guess you always learn with the car and try to set it up as you like it,” said Raikkonen.
“At the last few races we’ve been finding our way. We weren’t so happy at the beginning of the year – or we were happy but I felt that there was something that was missing, and then we found some reasons why we probably weren’t so happy.
“In the last races we’ve found pretty much what I have been looking for. So hopefully it means we’ve finally found the area where we can improve.”
Asked if the improvements related to how the car used the Pirelli tyres, Raikkonen replied: “No, it’s more making me able to drive more like I want.”
Raikkonen was second quickest in Friday practice at the Hungaroring, but remained cautious about his chances over the rest of the weekend.
“We don’t know if we’re going to be fast tomorrow because of today because we have no idea what the others are doing, but so far it’s not too bad,” he said.
Yet another rain hit practice session at the Hungaroring this afternoon; but on this occasion there was just enough time for both Lotus F1 Team drivers to put in some solid groundwork and place firmly inside the top ten before the heavens opened.
As the blistering heat continued – track temperature reaching 45 degrees – free practice two kicked off with a bang for Lotus F1 Team in more ways than one.
Both drivers emerged sporting fresh sets of white marked medium compound Pirelli tyres and were instantly on the pace; Romain setting the quickest time in the early stages, only to be outdone almost immediately by his team-mate.
Moments later however, the Frenchman was to have his strong run cut short; a wide exit sending the reigning GP2 Series Champion off track at a right angle, resulting in minor contact with the barrier and a limp back to the pits for repairs.
The Iceman meanwhile – unleashed from his upgrade assessment duties during the morning session – was lighting up the timing screens; exchanging fastest laps with Lewis Hamilton in a cat and mouse battle through the sectors.
New nose now in place, Romain returned to the fray for another assault on the Hungaroring circuit; quickly putting his brush with the Armco behind him and settling back into a good stride with consistent times placing him firmly in the top ten.
A highly entertaining session was once again to be interrupted at the halfway point; sudden showers creating standing water on one half of the circuit within seconds and bringing proceedings to a disappointing halt as the drivers tiptoed their way back to the pits.
With little to be learned in the mixed track conditions, the team opted to send a sole E20 – at the hands of the Iceman – out for a short stint right at the death; basic analysis of the green intermediate rubber the main purpose of his fleeting foray into the moisture.
Inevitably there were to be no improvements in lap time from any part of the field on the sodden tarmac, resulting in Kimi and Romain retaining the positions occupied at the mid-point of running; P2 for the Finn (1:22.180 from 20 laps) and P9 for the Frenchman (1:22.922 from 12 laps).
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m21.995 20 2. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m22.180s + 0.185 20 3. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m22.253s + 0.258 33 4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m22.417s + 0.422 28 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m22.582s + 0.587 22 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m22.747s + 0.752 17 7. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m22.794s + 0.799 23 8. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m22.824s + 0.829 18 9. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m22.922s + 0.927 12 10. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m23.160s + 1.165 19 11. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m23.164s + 1.169 28 12. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m23.337s + 1.342 26 13. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m23.713s + 1.718 25 14. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m23.814s + 1.819 17 15. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m23.841s + 1.846 28 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m24.328s + 2.333 23 17. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m24.345s + 2.350 27 18. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m24.623s + 2.628 22 19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m24.823s + 2.828 28 20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m25.220s + 3.225 28 21. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m27.104s + 5.109 27 22. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m27.106s + 5.111 18 23. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m27.185s + 5.190 22 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m27.822s + 5.827 20
Kimi Raikkonen – 2nd: “It was a normal Friday for me. We did the normal things and tried to make the car as quick as it can be. We were second fastest which was good, and we’ve managed to improve the setup on my car over the last few races so I’ve been pretty happy with it. We’re just making small improvements, but we’re making them all the time and going in the right direction. It’s only Friday, but we’re hoping for another good day tomorrow. “
Romain Grosjean – 9th: “Not the best day we’ve had but not the worst either. The car didn’t feel quite as I like it, similar to how it felt in Hockenheim, which made things a bit tricky. I made a mistake running wide on the exit of turn seven in the second session which meant I touched the wall, so a big apology to the guys for that. On a more positive note we now understand a few things which need improving in terms of setup, so hopefully tomorrow these will make a difference and I’ll have the confidence to push a bit harder and show the true pace of the car.”
James Allison, Technical Director: “We conducted valuable analysis of our latest aerodynamic developments on Kimi’s car this morning which help bring it a step closer to deployment in a race sometime in the future. Romain was uncomfortable with his car today which is something we will try to understand this evening. Kimi was pretty happy overall, even this morning when we weren’t running the native downforce settings for this circuit. With the Hungary setup in the afternoon, Kimi was comfortable, quick, and happy with both specifications of dry tyre. Whilst we haven’t conducted our usual long runs today it looks like both compounds should be reasonable race tyres.”
Contrary to forecasts earlier in the week, Friday got off to a dry, clear and scorching hot start as the green flags waved to signal go-time at the Hungaroring. Prime E20 weather then, as Kimi and Romain emerged for install laps on matching sets of the white marked medium compound Pirelli tyres.
A lot of interest in the Finn’s car this morning, with the developments seen during Friday in Hockenheim once again on show. The Frenchman’s ride was also sporting an unusual attachment; his addition however coming in the form of an aero analysis device.
Three single lap bursts within the first fifteen minutes kicked off the Iceman’s day; assessment of upgrades the name of the game in the early stages, with the latter of these stints providing his first flying lap of the day.
Romain eventually took to the track for his inaugural full throttle taste of the Hungaroring circuit in a Formula 1 car with one third of running complete; solid times for the Frenchman as he worked through the standard Friday programme of setup tweaks and race pace simulations.
The pair spent the second half of the session trading track time; continuing to run the medium rubber and racking up the laps to garner as much data as possible for the team to pick apart over lunch.
Short bursts of action intertwined with multiple pauses for adjustments were the tone of the morning; the chequered flag falling on the sun drenched Hungaroring to see Kimi end the session in P8 (1:23.983 from 24 laps) while Romain went into the break in P5 (1:23.633 from 24 laps).
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m22.821 30 2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m22.922s + 0.101 24 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m23.397s + 0.576 24 4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m23.628s + 0.807 29 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m23.633s + 0.812 24 6. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m23.845s + 1.024 26 7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m23.904s + 1.083 25 8. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m23.983s + 1.162 24 9. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m24.152s + 1.331 24 10. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m24.268s + 1.447 27 11. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m24.300s + 1.479 23 12. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m24.394s + 1.573 19 13. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m24.546s + 1.725 24 14. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m24.559s + 1.738 22 15. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m24.608s + 1.787 25 16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m25.354s + 2.533 25 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m25.559s + 2.738 27 18. Jules Bianchi Force India-Mercedes 1m25.715s + 2.894 26 19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m26.440s + 3.619 27 20. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m26.705s + 3.884 23 21. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m26.755s + 3.934 28 22. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m27.015s + 4.194 24 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m27.101s + 4.280 21 24. Dani Clos HRT-Cosworth 1m28.176s + 5.355 24
I have been in racing long enough to see all kinds of weather conditions coming and going quite quickly during the course of a Grand Prix weekend. But I still wonder, how come nowadays it always seem to rain on Saturday afternoons?
The racing for the top positions is very tight right now. Obviously, it’s essential to qualify solidly on the two front rows. We have had the speed to qualify well, but, for some reason or another, we seemed to lack the grip on wet compared to our competitors.
It was the case of wet Q3 in Silverstone, and it was the case of wet Q3 in Hockenheim. In Germany it was even worse. All in all it was not ideal for our car and so we missed the top positions in the grid, and that didn’t help to get the result we wanted from the race.
In Germany we qualified low to P10 and had to start from the fifth row. We gave everything we had in the race, but the gap to the leaders was too big after I stuck in the traffic in the early part of the race.
The pace was there, for sure. The car has felt as good in every race.
To gain P3 afterwards gave us the fourth podium of the season and 3 points more for the team, which is always important, but, to be honest, I would preferred to finish the race third on the circuit, not afterwards.
Now we are heading for Hungary for the last weekend before the traditional summer break. It’s been a good place for me. It’s nice to see so many Finnish flags around the circuit, and, hopefully, we have finally a hot summer weekend to deal with.
Obviously, the target is to qualify well to get a proper position to fight for the podium. In Hungaroring there is only that one line to follow. You need to be among the front runners to find a good rhythm for that long and physically very demanding race.
Q. Kimi, presumably you feel the same way about the crowd, but what about the car. Is it progressing? People were talking about it as a winner earlier this season. Is it keeping up that reputation? Is it keeping that performance?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Well, it hasn’t won any races, so it’s not a winner. I mean, we have a good package but for many races we probably haven’t got the best out of it in all conditions at all races but that’s up to us. We are still pretty happy but of course you want to do better. We wish to win races but it hasn’t happened so far, so hopefully we can win some this year. It’s not easy and we know that. We keep trying to improve things and learn from the things that we do and we’ll see what we can do in the second part [of the season].
Q. Is fourth the best you can do at the moment and is qualifying an emphasis for you?
KR. We had a good speed last weekend, apart from the rain. We couldn’t get anything in the rain for some reason. That really put us in a not very good position. If it’s a dry weekend… the car has been good in the wet in Silverstone but for some reason not in qualifying in the last race. I think we’re finding the place where I want to be with the car and the set-up and things like that and hopefully we can be a bit better here than we were last week.
Q. (Péter Farkas – Autó-Motor) Kimi, we have not really heard anything about the infamous power steering lately. Have you and the team taking a step forward regarding that? And before, did you have any real life situations where you felt you couldn’t achieve a better result because of the power steering?
KR. There’s no point to talk about it because I mean, when we say something people try to make a massive story out of it. Like I always said, it’s not perfect – it’s still not – it’s improved a lot since we started. But still a way to go. It’s OK to race, it’s not like it’s somehow going to make me one second faster or half a second faster if we going to get it exactly as we want. And this is… I know that I’ve driven better ones and there’s definitely still things that we can improve. We’re working for it, but it’s not the easiest thing to get right. So we have to work on those and hopefully at some point we will get it exactly as we want.
Q. (Gabor Joo – Index) Kimi and Fernando; Red Bull have these new engine mapping rules for this weekend. Do you expect Red Bull to struggle a bit?
FA. I think it’s a question for Red Bull.
KR. I don’t know what they’re doing so we will see.
Q. (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) Kimi, when you look back at the two years that you were out of Formula One, do you think they have had any influence in your performance up to now? And what happened when you were leaving Hockenheim? We saw some pictures (of him tripping over a barrier he was trying to climb over)…
KR. I almost fell down. It was close!
I was two years out (of Formula One). I was doing different things and I don’t think that if I’d been driving two years in Formula I would be any different really. I maybe took a few practices, a few races to know everything exactly (when I came back). Of course it’s a new team, so it took a bit to get to know everybody there and to get everything exactly as I wanted, but I think we’re getting there now and it hasn’t been too bad really. It’s been OK.
Q. (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, what is the maximum to be achieved with Lotus in the Constructors’ and Drivers’ championships and which one is more important for you?
KR. I will tell you at the end of the year. We will try to do the maximum all the time. I don’t know where we’re going to end up. We’re doing pretty OK now. I think they didn’t probably expect us to do so well as a team at the beginning of the year, and we try to improve and hopefully we will manage to do that. We’re in the fight for the top three. We’re now fourth in the team championship and I’m fourth in the drivers. We go race-by-race and on my side try to score as many points as I can, and try to help the team… I guess they want to be as high as they can in the team championship. For me I want to be as high as I can from my side. Both things really influence each other so we will just try to do better and hopefully manage to do that.
Q. (Harry Kiner – ARA Radio) A question for all of you, except Fernando; do you think that Fernando’s going to make it this year?
KR. Fernando is definitely in the best position right now, but like he said himself, you have one or two bad weekends and somebody else suddenly does well in those races and it changes very quickly. There are too many races to go, still, to look into it too much but then we will see what will happen at the end of the last race.
Q. (Harry Kiner – ARA Radio) And again, to you all, are you going to watch the Olympics?
KR. I think it’s hard to miss the Olympics even if you would like to. I will look at some on TV, but it’s not really sport that I’m following. For sure, there will be some TV so I will watch it.
Raikkonen is optimistic Lotus has hit a sweet spot in setting up the E20 and believes that if the Hungarian Grand Prix remains dry he may finally be able to fully deliver on the E20′s promise this weekend.
The Finn, who has finished on the podium four times in the ten races he’s started since returning to the sport in 2012, still thinks a win is possible this year if the team can get a clean race and the conditions are right.
“We haven’t won any races so it [the car] is not a winner,” he said at Hungary. “We have a good package but for many reasons we haven’t got the best out of it, or not got the best out of it in all the races.
“We are still pretty happy but you want to do better, we want to win races, but it hasn’t happened so far but hopefully we can.
“It is not easy, we know that, and we keep trying to improve things from the things we do, and we see what we can do in the second part.”
Raikkonen added that rain in the build-up to the race in Hockenheim last weekend cost the team badly in the German Grand Prix. It meant that Raikkonen could finish than fourth on the road after qualifying 10th.
“We had good speed in the last weekend, apart from the rain where we could not get anything for some reason,” he said, “and that really put us in a not very good position.
“But I think if it is a dry weekend we have found the place where we want to be with set-up and things like that, so hopefully we can be better than last weekend.”
We’ve already seen the pictures and had a good laugh in the community about Kimi’s latest blunder, not far off-track either. It seems Kimi’s bad luck in Germany still chased him, despite being promoted to third place. As ever with the internet, there was a surge of animated photoshopped jokes which you can see below. This just has to go into the KRS Archive so here’s a little article about the Flying Finn.
Kimi Raikkonen finished Sunday’s German grand prix in fourth place, and was later promoted to third, but in the immediate aftermath of the Hockenheim result, the Finn would enjoy a dose of good luck – and then a reminder of harsh reality.
When his friend Sebastian Vettel was penalised post-race for the illegal pass on Jenson Button, Finn Raikkonen inherited third position.
But, according to Bild newspaper, he then crashed.
The newspaper has published a photograph of the 2007 world champion tripping whilst jumping a fence to the paddock carpark, and landing awkwardly on a car.
“Kimi was rushing,” said an observer. “As he took a shortcut to the carpark, his right foot got caught on the fence and he fell onto a car. He let out an expletive, and quickly got up and going again.”
Hungary is the closest Finnish drivers get to a home Grand Prix according to the man himself – Kimi Raikkonen. We’ve seen hundreds of Finnish flags waving there for Kimi, as well as ex-F1 driver and double champion Mika Hakkinen. Here’s a quick look at the Iceman’s history at the circuit:
Finished just outside of the points with Sauber in 7th place.
Qualified 11th in the McLaren, finished 4th. We were given a taster of Kimi’s early combat skills when he tackled Montoya in the Williams:
Qualified 7th, took his first podium at Hungary in 2nd.
Qualified 11th, retired on lap 10 with electrical issue.
Qualified 4th. Race day was a different story – took the fastest lap and the win with the beautiful MP4/20.
Pole position with 1.19.599.
Did not finish the wet race, as Kimi crashed while trying to lap a confused Torro Rosso of Liuzzi’s:
Qualified 4th in the Ferrari. Set the fastest lap of the race. Finished on podium in 2nd.
Qualified 6th. Iceman took the fastest lap once again in the race and finished 3rd.
In his last Hungaroring outing, Kimi qualified 7th and finished the race on the podium in 2nd.
- Pole positions: 1
- Wins: 1
- Fastest laps: 3
- Podiums: 4
- Points finishes: 1
After inheriting the final podium position in the German Grand Prix, Kimi heads to his ‘home’ event in Hungary hopeful of another strong result and perhaps some celebrating with his fellow Finns.
Q: You’re up to fourth in the Driver’s Championship with only a small gap to the drivers directly in front; where can you go from here?
KR: If you had told me in January that we would be fourth halfway through the season, I think I would have been pretty pleased. It’s not a bad place to be, but I think we have a car good enough to have scored more points. I want to win and the whole team is pushing hard to make it happen, so let’s see what we can do in the second half of the season…
Q: How are you feeling heading to Hungary?
KR: It is always nice to go to Hungary. The circuit is not the most difficult of them all, but it is still quite challenging. It is also the last race before the summer break and it’s a great city to end the first half of the season. It’s always nice to have a summer vacation and recharge the batteries for the last – and most important – part of the season.
Q: How do you rate your past performances at the Hungaroring?
KR: I have won once in Hungary and finished second three times. It is very hot and very demanding race. It’s only when you win that you don’t suffer at the Hungaroring. I hope I don’t suffer this time.
Q: Are you happy to receive a podium placing for your performance in Germany?
KR: It’s nice to get the points for third position, but obviously we would rather score it on the track. Having said that I think we did the best we could at Hockenheim from the position we started. Maybe if we had found a bit more pace in the wet of qualifying we could have started higher, avoided the traffic and pushed the leaders, but it is what it is. For sure we were hoping for a bit better, but the car worked well all through the race and we still brought home some good points for the team so there are some positives to bring to Budapest.
Q: How do you assess the team’s potential heading to this event?
KR: The team has been working hard in developing our car and we are confident we should be competitive in Hungary. Usually we have a hot weekend at the Hungaroring, and that’s what we have been looking forward to during the whole summer. It’s never nice to go to media after a race without a win. I love to win, not to explain why we were not able to win. Hopefully we can get the result we are looking for.
Q: What are the particular challenges of the circuit?
KR: It’s such a slow and twisty track that you there are two things most of all which are really important for fast lap times; these are good turn in and good traction. If you have those, you have a competitive car there.
Q: The circuit’s tight and twisty: how important is qualifying?
KR: This is one of those circuits where it’s very difficult to overtake. Obviously, you need to get to the front in qualifying and you also ideally want to avoid the dirty side of the track on the grid. We haven’t been the best in qualifying so far, but we have been good in the race in hot conditions and able to make different strategies work. It won’t be the end of the world if we don’t qualify at the front, but it won’t make things easy for us either. Let’s see what happens.
Q: The Hungarian Grand Prix is also sometimes known as the Grand Prix of Finland because so many of your countrymen attend. What does this mean for you?
KR: It is always nice to see the blue and white flags waving. It’s the closest we Finnish drivers get to a home race and a lot of Finns turn up every year. Hopefully I will be able to celebrate with a win for them.
Promoted to third place following Sebastian Vettel’s post-race penalty, Kimi now has four podium finishes to his name in 2012. In typical Iceman fashion though, the Finn won’t truly be happy until he finally gets that elusive win.
Q: Kimi, a podium position here after a difficult qualifying session; you must be pleased with today’s performance?
KR: It’s nice to have another podium, but obviously we would rather get it on the track. Having said that I think we did the best we could today from the position we started. Maybe if we had found a bit more pace in the wet yesterday we could have started higher, avoided the traffic and pushed the leaders, but it is what it is. For sure we were hoping for a bit better, but the car worked well all through the race and we still brought home some good points for the team so there are some positives to take to the next race.
Q: Things seemed to get pretty tight during the first lap…
KR: My start was okay, but then I think Lewis [Hamilton] must have had a problem in front of me as he braked really sharply and I had to slow down to avoid hitting the back of his car. This meant I didn’t carry so much speed going onto the straight and Paul [Di Resta] managed to get past in the DRS zone. From there we had a big hill to climb as it was tricky to get back past people, even though we had the pace in the car. Once I had some clean air we pulled away quite quickly, so it’s a bit frustrating that we got stuck in traffic for so long. Maybe without that the result could have been even better…
Q: You’re up to fourth in the Driver’s Championship with only a small gap to the drivers directly in front; where can you go from here?
KR: If you had told me in January that we would be fourth halfway through the season, I think I would have been pretty pleased. It’s not a bad place to be, but I think we have a car good enough to have scored more points. I want to win and the whole team is pushing hard to make it happen, so let’s see what we can do in the second half of the season…
Sebastian Vettel has been handed a penalty for his overtaking move on Jenson Button in the German Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver passed his McLaren rival for second with less than two laps to go by running off track at the exit of the hairpin.
Vettel’s move was illegal, according to the stewards, who imposed a post-race drive-through penalty on the German, meaning 20 seconds have been added to his finishing time.
The German drops from second to fifth, promoting Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen to third.
A mixed German Grand Prix all round for the team at Hockenheim ; Kimi producing a fine drive to move up six positions while early damage for Romain compounded a trying weekend for the Frenchman.
Key Moments :
Lap 01 : KR up to P9, RG down to P24 after contact forces an early pit stop
Lap 02 : KR takes Lewis Hamilton ; up to P8 only to be passed back the following lap
Lap 05 : KR moves past Paul Di Resta into P8 through T9 / T10
Lap 11 : KR pits for soft tyres, jumping Mark Webber to clinch P6 after Lewis Hamilton is forced to pit
Lap 13 : Fastest lap for KR ; flying on fresh rubber
Lap 15 : Another position gained for KR ; past Nico Hulkenberg into P5
Lap 21 : After a long battle, KR takes Michael Schumacher exiting T6 to take P4
Lap 23 : First round of stops complete ; KR P4, RG P20
Lap 25 : RG pits for the medium compound tyres
Lap 38 : KR in for his 2nd stop ; medium rubber this time around for the Finn
Lap 40 : KR reclaims the fastest lap of the race
Lap 43 : RG in for the third time ; softs on this occasion
Lap 50 : Off-track excursion for RG ; wide into the T12 gravel but recovers well
Lap 67 : Chequered flag ; KR P4, RG P18
Warm and dry conditions as the lights went out at Hockenheim ; Both E20s starting the race on yellow marked soft compound Pirelli tyres. A frantic first lap saw Kimi stay out of trouble to move up one position, while Romain’s bad luck continued ; contact breaking the front wing and damaging the floor of his E20. Forced to make an unscheduled pit stop, the Frenchman made the switch to the white marked medium compound rubber.
The first phase proved equally as action-packed for the Finn ; passing Lewis Hamilton, being re-passed by the McLaren, then making a move on Paul Di Resta. After an early stop for fresh softs, the 2007 World Champion jumped both Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton – in the pits / thanks to a puncture respectively – to find himself up in sixth.
Flying in the early stages, Kimi took the fastest lap of the race as he chased down Nico Hulkenberg ; passing the German within three laps of his stop to take fifth in an opportunistic move by following Michael Schumacher past the Force India in the turn nine / ten complex.
Settling into a good rhythm, the Finn remained glued to the back of the Mercedes in front ; an intense battle ensuing before a fine move exiting the turn six hairpin clinched fourth place for the Iceman. As the first round of stops filtered out, Kimi occupied fourth place while Romain remained pinned at the back of the field ; twentieth for the Frenchman after his various troubles in the early stages.
A quiet period of the race for the Lotus F1 Team drivers created a busy phase for the team ; two stops in five laps seeing both E20s emerge on medium tyres as the Finn once again notched the quickest time of the day thus far on fresh rubber.
The Iceman continued to clock personal best times and fastest sectors in the dying embers of the race, but with a significant gap to Jenson Button in front the podium was just out of reach as he came home in a strong fourth. Romain eventually limped over the line in a severely battered and bruised E20 to take eighteenth on a weekend to forget for the Frenchman.
Revised results and standings: Pos Driver Team 1. Alonso Ferrari 2. Button McLaren-Mercedes 3. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 4. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 5. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 6. Perez Sauber-Ferrari 7. Schumacher Mercedes 8. Webber Red Bull-Renault 9. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 10. Rosberg Mercedes 11. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes 12. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 13. Massa Ferrari 14. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 15. Maldonado Williams-Renault 16. Petrov Caterham-Renault 17. Senna Williams-Renault 18. Grosjean Lotus-Renault 19. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 20. Pic Marussia-Cosworth 21. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 22. Glock Marussia-Cosworth 23. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth Not classified/retirements: Driver Team Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes World Championship standings, round 10: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Alonso 154 1. Red Bull-Renault 230 2. Webber 120 2. Ferrari 177 3. Vettel 110 3. McLaren-Mercedes 160 4. Raikkonen 98 4. Lotus-Renault 159 5. Hamilton 92 5. Mercedes 105 6. Rosberg 76 6. Sauber-Ferrari 80 7. Button 68 7. Williams-Renault 47 8. Grosjean 61 8. Force India-Mercedes 46 9. Perez 47 9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6 10. Kobayashi 33 11. Maldonado 29 12. Schumacher 29 13. Di Resta 27 14. Massa 23 15. Hulkenberg 19 16. Senna 18 17. Vergne 4 18. Ricciardo 2
Kimi Raikkonen, (4th -3rd) – “We did the best we could today from the position we started. My start was okay, but then I think Lewis had a problem in front of me and I had to slow down to avoid hitting the back of his car. This let Paul (Di Resta) through in the DRS zone and from there we had a big hill to climb as it was tricky to get back past. Maybe if we had found a bit more pace in the wet yesterday we could have started higher and pushed the leaders, but it is what it is. For sure we were hoping for a bit better here, but the car worked well all through the race and we still brought home some good points for the team so there are some positives to take to the next race.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “We saw a great recovery from Kimi after yesterday’s issues. It was a very strong and experienced drive coupled with a good strategy from the team. Starting in tenth and nineteenth positions we were always going to have our work cut out, so it’s good to see Kimi score big points again and display strong race pace. With Romain it was a difficult first lap and he had to fight with a damaged car from then on. We have all seen him have very good weekends, so we need to ensure that he has solid weekends even when circumstances mean he starts from the back of the grid. As a team we had the same pace as the frontrunners so there is no question about our capacity to score podiums and maybe a win one day.”
Alan Permane, Director of Trackside Operations: “Romain was compromised by his first lap incident which severely damaged his floor, losing him a lot of downforce. With Kimi moving tenth to fourth we saw the strategy work as we wanted it to. We were hoping to be able to get on the podium but the first few laps cost a bit too much time. Ultimately we could run at the pace of the leaders, but we were just too far back to make the top three today. It’s a familiar story we know all too well ; we have to qualify better to get stronger results. The wet weather of Saturday really hurt us in qualifying here, so hopefully we can bounce back in Budapest and do a good job.”
Video: Kimi passes Di Resta – onboard, Schumacher and Kimi pass Hulkenberg, Kimi overtakes Schumacher, full onboard coverage with Kimi
End of clip – Martin Brundle: “What impressed me with Kimi Raikkonen today was his racecraft, he’s lost absolutely none of it despite being away, and he was inch perfect today.”
When this season started team principal Eric Boullier dreamed that Lotus would finish third in the constructors’ standings. Boullier’s dream has – for now, at least – become a reality but with 11 races still to go, anything could still happen. And the Frenchman knows his team must improve their car’s qualifying form if they are to take advantage of its excellent race pace and claim victory this year. He discusses this, drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean and much more…
Selected questions and answers:
Q: What will be your homework for the next races? Where can you improve?
EB: We have a big upgrade we would like to see working on the car after the shutdown. So you could call this race some kind of test. The most visible change has been the new wing on Kimi’s car but there are also a number of changes on Romain’s car. And we want to see what these changes will bring us in terms of race pace. From Spa until the end of the season we hope that we will have the whole package up and running and it will help us defend our position.
Q: You just mentioned the new wing on Raikkonen’s car. Why did you pick the Finn to test the new package?
EB: Both cars and both drivers are treated exactly the same. Romain had a new front and rear wing in Valencia and Silverstone and now it was Kimi’s turn for something new. We decide that randomly.
Q: Everybody expects Lotus to win sooner rather than later. Which of your two guys do you see as the most likely to clinch victory?
EB: I don’t know. On paper Kimi is delivering more in terms of points and race finishes so he could be the first one to win. But I am pretty sure that in the end both are capable.
Q: You just said that you had favoured race pace over qualifying pace. Grosjean has been faster than Raikkonen several times in qualifying but Raikkonen has scored more points. Why is that?
EB: Sometimes it is just by accident and sometimes it is because Romain’s driving style is a little bit more aggressive than that of Kimi and that is only because we struggle to get his tyres up to temperature. Once we can combine Kimi’s qualifying and Romain’s race pace we should be in good shape.
Q: It’s mid-season and you know the strengths and weaknesses of Raikkonen and Grosjean now. Can you talk us through them?
EB: I don’t see much of a downside to Kimi to be honest. He came back to his speed level very quickly. I think he struggled a little bit with the strength and pushiness of the others and also with getting back into the Formula One format over weekends. But that is all history. Now he is there – and I would not be surprised if he won tomorrow. Romain is still building himself up. Many see him as a ‘fake’ rookie but I would disagree with that. Even if he did seven races two years ago he never had a real chance to bloom, so for me he is still in his first year. He is making mistakes – of course – because he is a youngster. But the good news is that he never repeats a mistake! He is learning, listening and getting stronger with every race.
Q: That sounds like there are almost no weaknesses and a lot of strengths…
EB: Yes. I think I have one of the best driver line-ups on the grid. They are fast and complement each other. Character-wise they are very different. It is not about liking or hating each other but respecting each other – and they do.
Q: You say that you have one of the best driver pairings on the grid. Who would you say has an equally good line-up?
EB: It looks like the Red Bull pair. But on the other hand you have to consider that there has been a huge shake-up at our team over the last two years and that has not happened at any of the other big teams. Now that the dust has settled and we are all moving in the same direction we now need some stability. If you take Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren or Mercedes they have had the same driver line-up for three years and this is what we are missing this year. We are missing stability. But first you have to build it.
Q: You said you could imagine Raikkonen winning the race, even from P10. What has to happen for him to win?
EB: First of all, there is no such thing as the perfect race weekend so you have to make the best of what you have. We are still learning to get the most out of our drivers but it is coming and Kimi is finding his way. Our car is fast enough in the race – so let’s see how it goes.
As dark clouds loomed just outside the Hockenheim circuit, free practice three became a frantic dash to complete dry running before the heavens opened; both Kimi and Romain taking full advantage to pack in the laps and ensure the team were fully prepared for tomorrow’s race.
With blue skies and bright sunshine bathing the Hockenheim circuit as the final free practice session got underway this morning, the cars lined up at the end of the pit lane aiming to get in as much running as possible before the predicted rain shower arrived.
Among the crowd, Kimi emerged sporting a set of yellow marked soft compound Pirelli tyres, with Romain opting for the white marked medium compound rubber; the former setting the early pace at the top of the time sheets.
Long initial stints for the pair as the team assessed race setup in advance of tomorrow’s race saw the Finn rack up fourteen laps, with his French counterpart notching seventeen tours of the circuit.
At the halfway stage, the 2007 World Champion occupied eleventh place with his team-mate lying sixteenth. The Iceman promptly returned to the fray for a second assault on the Hockenheim circuit; medium tyres now on his E20 as he instantly moved back up into the top three with a strong first lap.
The reigning GP2 Series Champion meanwhile remained confined to the garage; a new front wing being fitted to his car after a minor breakage to the newer spec. version he had been running thus far. His next stint came with just over twenty minutes to run; once more using the medium tyres.
As the session entered its closing stages, Romain returned to base briefly for a switch to the soft tyres. Kimi meanwhile had just fired his E20 out of the box for a final run on the same rubber as a few drops of rain began to fall.
Moments from the chequered flag and monsoon conditions engulfed the region, with both drivers returning to the shelter of the garage. Kimi finished the morning in P4 with a best time of 1:16.238 from 27 laps, while Romain heads into qualifying having set a fastest lap of 1:16.962 from 26 laps – good enough for P11.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m16.014s 14 2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m16.091s + 0.077 21 3. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m16.202s + 0.188 21 4. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m16.238s + 0.224 27 5. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m16.447s + 0.433 19 6. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m16.475s + 0.461 18 7. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m16.664s + 0.650 18 8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m16.771s + 0.757 15 9. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m16.801s + 0.793 25 10. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m16.930s + 0.916 23 11. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m16.962s + 0.948 26 12. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m17.033s + 1.019 26 13. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m17.148s + 1.134 24 14. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m17.238s + 1.224 25 15. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m17.266s + 1.252 22 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m17.419s + 1.405 23 17. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m17.491s + 1.477 26 18. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m18.366s + 2.352 21 19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m18.818s + 2.804 23 20. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m19.778s + 3.764 22 21. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m20.235s + 4.221 22 22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m20.318s + 4.304 9 23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m20.741s + 4.727 22 24. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m20.914s + 4.900 25