Archive for July, 2012

Hungary: interview with Kimi’s engineer Mark Slade

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.

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Lotus expect Raikkonen to stay

Source: autosport.com

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:


Hungary: Kimi’s Grand Prix

Source: lotusf1team.com

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.


Hungary: Post-race press conference

Source: autosport.com

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.

(more…)


Hungary Grand Prix – Results: 2nd | Videos

Source: autosport.com | lotusf1team.com | twitter

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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.

Key Moments:

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

Hungary 2012 Kimi Räikkönen vs Romain Grosjean by Essikimi

Hungary 2012 Podium by Essikimi

 

Quotes:

Press conference

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.”

Lotus team quotes:

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.”


Raikkonen on Ferrari’s radar for 2013 | Kimi’s comments

Source: autosport.com

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.

Kimi comments on Ferrari rumours

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.”


Hungary: post-qualifying interview with Kimi

Source: lotusf1team.com

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Kimi has looked pretty handy all weekend at the wheel of his E20, with setup tweaks helping the Finn push even harder to reach the ultimate pace. Qualifying this afternoon may not have been perfect, but the Iceman certainly ain’t done yet…

Q: Kimi, P5 on the grid for tomorrow’s race; are you satisfied with that?

KR: Not a bad qualifying performance for sure but we probably expected a bit more. The car has been good all weekend but I made a small mistake on my best lap in the last part of qualifying. It’s a bit disappointing I couldn’t get the crucial lap together at the right time, but it is what it is

Q: Overtaking has proven to be quite tricky here in the past; does being on the third row put you at more of a disadvantage in that respect?

KR: We’d rather be a bit higher up of course but we’re in a much better position than we have been many times this year and we’ve still managed to get good results, so it’s not a bad place to start. The layout of the track makes life a little bit more difficult but it doesn’t mean we can’t be competitive.

Q: You’ve looked competitive all weekend; what are your thoughts looking ahead to the race tomorrow?

KR: We don’t know what the others have been doing in practice, but our car looks pretty good on higher fuel loads and that’s a good sign. I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be right up there. We’re starting on the clean side of the track too; this year it doesn’t look like it’ll make such a big difference as it has done in the past but it always gives you a small advantage. If we can get a good start we definitely have a chance to get a strong result.


Hungary Grand Prix – Qualifying Results: 5th

Source: autosport.com | lotusf1team.com | twitter

The blistering sun of Budapest shone kindly on Lotus F1 Team this afternoon in qualifying, as Kimi took a strong top five grid slot while Romain produced the best qualifying performance of his Formula 1 career to date.

Qualifying 1 – Key Moments:

0mins: Both drivers out on medium tyres
2mins: KR sets the early pace, RG building speed
10mins: Halfway point: KR P2, RG P3
14mins: Second run for RG on fresh medium rubber
16mins: Same routine for KR
20mins: Session ends; KR P9 RG P13

Qualifying 2 – Key Moments:

4mins: Both E20s burst out of the garage on soft tyres
6mins: RG sets the quickest time, ousted by KR shortly afterwards
12mins: RG follows KR for a second foray on fresh soft rubber
14mins: The pair improve, but tense moments as the remaining runners cross the line
15mins: Full time; KR P5, RG P9

Qualifying 3 – Key Moments:

1min: KR out of used softs for a banker lap
3mins: RG shadows his team-mate on the same rubber
8mins: Final dash for the pair; fresh soft tyres for both
10mins: Chequered flag; KR P5, stunning last gasp effort puts RG P2

Summary:

The final showdown began in a somewhat subdued fashion, with each of the remaining ten drivers emerging on scrubbed rubber to put in a banker lap before settling down in the shade ready to launch a last gasp attack.

Kimi and Romain were naturally among them; the pair pouncing with just minutes to spare as the day’s action drew to a close. The Finn put in a strong lap to bring himself up to the sharp end in fifth, but was pipped right at the death by his team-mate; a stunning lap giving the Frenchman not only his best ever Formula 1 qualifying result, but the highest grid slot of the season to date for the team in second position.

Raikkonen still aiming for strong race

“We expected a bit more, the car has been good all weekend, but it was a bit more difficult in the last qualifying. I would rather be higher up, but that is how it goes.

“Usually our pace on Sunday is good, and I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be here.”

“It was not a perfect qualifying but it is still a good place to start the race. You make your life a bit more difficult when you don’t make a good qualifying.”

Pos  Driver                Team                 Time          Gap   
 1.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m20.953s        
 2.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m21.366s + 0.413
 3.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m21.416s + 0.463
 4.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m21.583s + 0.630
 5.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault        1m21.730s + 0.777
 6.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m21.844s + 0.891
 7.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m21.900s + 0.947
 8.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault     1m21.939s + 0.986
 9.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault     1m22.343s + 1.390
10.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes 1m22.847s + 1.894
Q2 cut-off time: 1m21.697s                                 Gap *
11.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m21.715s  + 0.655
12.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m21.813s  + 0.753
13.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m21.895s  + 0.835
14.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       1m21.895s  + 0.835
15.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m22.300s  + 1.240
16.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m22.380s  + 1.320
17.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m22.723s  + 1.663
Q1 cut-off time: 1m22.948s                                 Gap *
18.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m23.250s  + 1.456
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault     1m23.576s  + 1.782
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault     1m24.167s  + 2.373
21.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth    1m25.244s  + 3.450
22.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth    1m25.476s  + 3.682
23.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth         1m25.916s  + 4.122
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         1m26.178s  + 4.384

Lotus team quotes:

Kimi Raikkonen, 5th – “Not a bad qualifying performance for sure, but it’s a bit disappointing I didn’t go faster when it mattered. The car feels good, but I didn’t get the crucial lap together at the right time. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.”

Romain Grosjean, 2nd - “Qualifying was very tight and it was difficult to see where we would end up so on the front row is fantastic. We came here after a difficult weekend at Hockenheim and to be honest I didn’t get off to the best start yesterday. We worked hard to improve things overnight and the car felt much better in practice this morning. I’m very happy and just a little bit surprised to be P2 on the grid. Today’s job is done, let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”

Alan Permane, trackside operations director – “It’s great to be on the front row. It’s been a good day. It’s great to be on the front row with Romain. We’d like to have seen Kimi a little further up the order – especially as his Q2 time was better than he achieved in Q3 – but overall it’s been an excellent weekend so far; let’s hope that continues tomorrow. Our target has been to improve our qualifying performance; we’ve clearly demonstrated that today. We’re starting from the front row so there is good potential. It’s a difficult circuit to overtake on – one of the hardest next to Monaco and Singapore. A good start will clearly be very important. After the start, even with the DRS, the straight is not long enough to mount an overtaking bid unless a car ahead is suffering from tyre degradation or something else to slow them down. Both the medium and soft compound tyres have exhibited pretty low degradation so we have no worries or concerns about durability, even with high temperatures. Conditions similar to those we’ve seen over the last couple of days have been forecast. There is potential for some rain, but it’s so hot here there could be thunder showers like we saw on Friday. We’re ready for whatever the weather throws at us.”


Hungarian Grand Prix – Final Practice Results: 6th

Source: autosport.com | lotusf1team.com | twitter

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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.

Summary:

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

Hungary: Friday Q&A with Kimi

Source: lotusf1team.com

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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: I’m able to drive more like I want now

Source: autosport.com

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.


Hungarian Grand Prix – Friday Practice Results: 2nd

Source: autosport.com | lotusf1team.com | twitter

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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.

Summary:

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

Lotus team quotes:

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.”

Free practice 1 – report

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).

FP1 Times:

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

Kimi’s column: Germany review & Hungary preview

Source: kimiraikkonen.com

Who’ll stop the rain

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.


Hungary: Thursday FIA press conference | video

Source: autosport.com

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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 confident for win if dry weekend

Source: autosport.com

[ Listen to an audio of Kimi speaking to the press today in Hungary ]

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.”


Germany didn’t let Kimi get away… without a fall

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.

Source: yallaf1.com

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.”


Raikkonen’s history at the Hungarian Grand Prix

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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:

2001
Finished just outside of the points with Sauber in 7th place.

2002
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:

 

2003
Qualified 7th, took his first podium at Hungary in 2nd.

2004
Qualified 11th, retired on lap 10 with electrical issue.

2005
Qualified 4th. Race day was a different story – took the fastest lap and the win with the beautiful MP4/20.

 

2006
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:

 

2007
Qualified 4th in the Ferrari. Set the fastest lap of the race. Finished on podium in 2nd.

2008
Qualified 6th. Iceman took the fastest lap once again in the race and finished 3rd.

2009
In his last Hungaroring outing, Kimi qualified 7th and finished the race on the podium in 2nd.

Statistics breakdown:

  • Pole positions: 1
  • Wins: 1
  • Fastest laps: 3
  • Podiums: 4
  • Points finishes: 1

Hungarian GP preview: let’s see what we can do!

Source: kimiraikkonen.com

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.


Kimi: would rather get the podium on track!

Source: lotusf1team.com

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…


German Grand Prix – Results: 3rd | Videos

Source: autosport.com | lotusf1team.com | twitter

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Update:

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

Summary :

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

Lotus team quotes:

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.”


Boullier “would not be surprised if Raikkonen won”

Source: formula1.com

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.


Germany: post-qualifying interview with Kimi

Source: lotusf1team.com

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After flying to the top of the times in the dry conditions of Q1, the remaining qualifying sessions here at Hockenheim were a little more frosty for the Iceman. With no rain forecast for tomorrow’s race however, Kimi is confident he has the speed and the car to work his way back to the front.

Q: Kimi, quickest in Q1 but not quite what you must have hoped for in Q3; give us your view on today’s session

KR: We have a very quick car here in the dry, but for some reason we can’t seem to find the grip in the wet at the moment. We’ve had the same issue in the past but we’ve always found a way to change the setup and make it better. I’m not sure exactly why, but it’s been a bit more difficult here to get the downforce we need when the rain comes.

Q: Conditions looked pretty difficult out there; how did it feel inside the car?

KR: It was really tricky; too slippery for the intermediates and even on the full wets we had aquaplaning. We put a new set on at the end to try something different but it was so slippery I just couldn’t seem to find enough grip and had to back off a bit.

Q: The forecast is dry for tomorrow’s race; do you feel confident of moving forward?

KR: We’re not starting in the best position but the car works well here and I’ve been happy with it all weekend in the dry. Hopefully we can get a good start, a clean first lap and make up a few places quickly. It’s one of the easiest tracks to overtake people, so let’s see what we can do.


German Grand Prix – Qualifying Results: 10th

Source: autosport.com | lotusf1team.com | twitter

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A difficult qualifying session for Lotus F1 Team, with mixed conditions and a greasy track surface resulting in a wild ride for Kimi and Romain; the latter dropping out of qualifying at the second hurdle for the first time this season.

Qualifying 1 – Key Moments:

0mins: Both cars straight out on medium tyres; rain predicted
5mins: Kimi pits for fresh rubber; mediums again
13mins: The Finn emerges for a third run on hard tyres, goes P1
15mins: The Frenchman does the same; struggles for grip initially
20mins: Chequered flag; Kimi P1, Romain P16

With just over five minutes remaining, both drivers joined the action once more; remaining on the medium tyres to take a final swing at the sharp end of the grid. Kimi rocketed to the top of the times with his first lap; beating a number of drivers using the soft compound in the process. Despite struggling by his usual standards, Romain put together a solid stint to bring himself up the order and joining his team-mate in the next phase.

Qualifying 2 – Key Moments:

0mins: Rain; all cars out to get a time on intermediates before standing water emerged
7mins: Kimi P8, Romain P15 at the halfway stage; rain intensifying
11mins: The Finn starts his final run, closely followed by the Frenchman; both on full wets
12mins: Romain off track at T13; pushing hard to find time in terrible conditions
15mins: Session ends; Kimi P10, Romain P15

With just minutes to spare, both drivers tentatively crept out onto the circuit sporting the blue marked full wet tyres. Times however were not to improve as track conditions deteriorated; Kimi sneaking through to the pole position shoot out in P10, Romain making an off track excursion and subsequently being knocked out in the second stage for the first time this season.

Qualifying 3 – Key Moments:

0mins: Kimi out on full wets; Romain’s session over
2mins: Solid first effort for the Finn as the rain eases
7mins: Fresh full wet rubber for the Iceman as he goes for one final push
10mins: Final result; Kimi P10, Romain P15

Summary:

With his team-mate eliminated from the final phase of qualifying, Kimi flung the sole remaining E20 out of the pits on full wet tyres as the last ten minutes of the day disappeared from the board.

A solid initial run for the Finn before returning to base for fresh rubber; one last stint in mind before the session concluded.

This final effort yielded a decent improvement for the 2007 World Champion, it was not enough to improve on his position; the E20s set to start the German Grand Prix from tenth (Kimi) and twentieth (Romain; five place penalty from his initial placing of fifteenth).

Pos  Driver                Team                 Time           Gap   
 1.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m40.621s
 2.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m41.026s  + 0.405
 3.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m41.496s  + 1.838
 4.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m42.459s  + 2.880
 5.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes 1m43.501s  + 3.329
 6.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault     1m43.950s  + 3.492
 7.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m44.113s  + 3.565
 8.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m44.186s  + 0.875
 9.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m44.889s  + 4.268
10.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault        1m45.811s  + 5.190
Q2 cut-off time: 1m39.729s                                   Gap **
11.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m39.789s  + 2.424
12.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       1m39.933s  + 2.568
13.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m39.985s  + 2.620
14.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m40.212s  + 2.847
15.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m40.574s  + 3.209
16.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault     1m40.752s  + 3.387
17.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m41.551s  + 4.186
Q1 cut-off time: 1m16.686s                                    Gap *
18.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m16.741s  + 1.048
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault     1m17.620s  + 1.927
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault     1m18.531s  + 2.838
21.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth    1m19.220s  + 3.527
22.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth    1m19.291s  + 3.598
23.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth         1m19.912s  + 4.219
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         1m20.230s  + 4.537

Lotus team quotes:

Kimi Raikkonen – 10th: “We weren’t fast in the wet today for some reason and we need to look at why that was. I wasn’t able to get any grip from the tyres, even when we tried a fresh set of wets half way through the final qualifying session. In the dry the car is very good and in the races our car usually has strong pace. Let’s hope for some dry weather tomorrow and see what happens.”

Romain Grosjean – 15th: “The rain seemed to come at the wrong time for me ; it always was at its heaviest when I was trying to go for a quick lap. It was certainly difficult out there to find enough grip and not to get held up by other cars. It’s difficult to understand why I was so far behind Kimi in qualifying when I’ve been very close to him during the rest of the weekend. I’ve got it all to do tomorrow and I’ll be working hard with my engineers to ensure we’ve got the quickest car and the best strategy to go for some points.”

Alan Permane – trackside operations director:

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

AP: “Qualifying was a frustrating session. In the dry we looked to be comfortably one of the quickest cars out there, but as soon as it rained we really struggled with both. We will obviously investigate why we weren’t able to extract any pace at the crucial time today.”

Q. What can be done in the race?

AP: “The forecast is for a dry race and we are confident in our pace in those conditions, particularly over a race distance. Kimi can still have a good race from P10 on the grid and we’re looking at the strategy options for him. Romain has more work to do from P20, but it’s a relatively easy track in terms of overtaking with DRS so we can still achieve a good result.”

Q. What can be achieved by Romain from the back of the grid?

AP: “Romain has his work cut out, but in dry conditions he’s likely to have one of the fastest cars on the track. We’ll be doing everything we can to give him the best strategy to move up the order and that’s certainly his objective for the race.”


German Grand Prix – Final Practice Results: 4th

Source: autosport.com | lotusf1team.com | twitter

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.

Summary:

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