Kimi could do with some luck in Hockenheim given his history in German Grands Prix, but does that affect the Iceman’s approach to the race? Not a chance.
Q: Kimi, a stop-start day for you today; how much can you learn from these sessions?
KR: We didn’t get as much running as we would have liked because of the rain, but nobody can control the weather so it is what it is and we did what we could in the conditions. It’s been the same in the last few races so we’re used to it now. Today was a pretty normal Friday; it’s the time to try new things but unfortunately these kind of conditions make it a bit tricky.
Q: What kind of effect do you think the weather will have tomorrow if it remains the same?
KR: You can never really tell much from practice sessions in terms of who will be quick and who won’t be so fast. The weather conditions change pretty quickly here and the track was quite slippery in places, but it track dried out quite fast when the rain stopped. In Silverstone we had similar conditions and qualifying was more about being out at the right time on the right tyres which is hard to judge. We’ll just have to see how it is tomorrow and go from there.
Q: We’re at the halfway stage of the season now; how pleased are you with the way things are going?
KR: We’re in third position in the Constructors’ and fifth position in the Drivers’ Championship, so overall it’s ok but we feel we could have done a bit better in certain places. There’s always room to improve and of course it’s easy to say these things looking back but that’s part of the game. We’ll learn from where things didn’t quite go right and the team is working hard to move further up in the second half of the season, so let’s see where we end up.
A Silverstone style deluge engulfed the Hockenheim circuit just moments before running began in the second free practice session of the weekend. Nonetheless, Kimi and Romain racked up the laps to round of a useful day’s running for the team.
Just moments before the start of the day’s second session, the heavens opened above the Hockenheim circuit with most teams electing to remain parked until the track began to dry out.
Romain was first of the E20s to venture out into the spray with twenty four minutes elapsed, easing his car round a tentative first stint. Kimi followed shortly afterwards, both sporting the blue marked wet Pirelli tyres to cope with the rivers running across the track.
Another run for the Frenchman began in fine fashion. The reigning GP2 Series Champion briefly took top spot before returning to the pits after just a handful of laps, as the rapidly drying Hockenheim tarmac forced a switch to intermediate rubber; an option adopted by his Finnish counterpart from the start of his second stint.
Both drivers began to pump in some impressive times
Both drivers began to pump in some impressive times at the mid stage; each hovering at the sharp end of the field in the intermediate conditions and the Iceman in particular completing longer runs to make up for a lack of running in the first session this morning.
No sooner has times begun to sharply tumble, than a few drops of rain began to fall once more. Both E20s promptly returned to base, remaining parked while the team assessed the weather patterns to establish their next move in the final third of the session.
Kimi emerged with twenty minutes remaining on another set of intermediate tyres, and then again on the same rubber with twelve to run as the team pushed for every last scrap of data from the latest package to adorn the E20. His team-mate meanwhile returned to the dry haven of the garage; opting not to run again in the tricky conditions.
Red flags right at the death as Michael Schumacher found himself in the barriers signalled a premature conclusion to the day’s running. Kimi ended the session in P10 with a best time of 1:29.327 from 22 laps, while Romain’s best time of 1:28.420 from 20 laps saw him sit P5 heading into Saturday.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m27.476 14 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m27.564s + 0.088 24 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m27.902s + 0.426 24 4. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.402s + 0.926 26 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m28.420s + 0.944 20 6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m28.495s + 1.019 22 7. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m28.513s + 1.037 23 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m28.516s + 1.040 16 9. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m28.877s + 1.401 21 10. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m29.327s + 1.851 22 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m29.364s + 1.888 26 12. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m29.719s + 2.243 15 13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m29.785s + 2.309 24 14. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m30.090s + 2.614 19 15. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m30.220s + 2.744 16 16. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m30.291s + 2.815 22 17. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m30.331s + 2.855 26 18. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m30.437s + 2.961 14 19. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m30.617s + 3.141 16 20. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m31.207s + 3.731 20 21. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m32.241s + 4.765 22 22. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m32.349s + 4.873 17 23. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m32.777s + 5.301 18 24. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m42.566s + 15.090 8
Kimi Raikkonen – 10th:“We didn’t learn a lot today with the weather conditions as they were; it was like Silverstone when we also didn’t have very good conditions. We tried a few different things which I think some people noticed today. It would have been nice to have some more dry track time but you can’t do anything about that. The track does feel quite slippery when it’s wet ; it’s definitely not very grippy in these conditions. Overall, it was a pretty normal Friday when you try different things and get as much running as the weather allows.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “We saw a tricky first session with track conditions changing a lot due to intermittent rain, which didn’t aid the learning process regarding our new parts. The afternoon was far more productive as the wet conditions were reasonably consistent. We looked at both the intermediate and wet tyres in the second session to give us some good data if qualifying or the race are run in similar conditions, and also assessed a variety of set-ups and tyre pressures. Both cars ran with aero updates, which were rather more visible on one car than the other. We’ve seen encouraging signs from our latest prototype concept and although we won’t race it here, it’s likely to make another appearance during practice in Budapest.”
Lotus is unlikely to gamble on continuing to run its new double DRS system for the rest of the German Grand Prix weekend.
The team tried its own version of a rear-wing stall system, as pioneered by Mercedes, on Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus E20 during free practice at Hockenheim, but team principal Eric Boullier said that he prefers not to take risks on a system that is as yet unproven.
It is anticipated that, provided the system works as planned, Lotus might not run it competitively until after the August break, which was always likely to be the case.
A cool, grey start to the opening day here at Hockenheim saw patches of rain interrupt track time, while Lotus F1 Team spent the intermittent periods of dry running analysing upgrades rather than seeking outright pace.
A few droplets of rain spattered the track just as the lights went green to signal the start of free practice one here at Hockenheim. Both E20s immediately departed the garage for install laps sporting matching sets of Pirelli’s new experimental hard compound tyre, marked with a silver band around the outer rim.
Romain was first of the pair to emerge for his first stint ; a short run on the same set of hard tyres used for his install lap firing the Frenchman into P2. Kimi followed just minutes later on identical rubber, running deep into the turn thirteen hairpin and aborting his run as further spurts of rain began to fall.
the few drivers remaining on track struggled to remain on it
As the few drivers remaining on track struggled to remain on it, the session fell silent as teams awaited an end to the shower before sending their drivers back out onto the track. Kimi and Romain finally broke out of the garage with just under half of the session remaining, once more putting the new hard tyres through their paces.
The Finn once again opted not to complete a flying lap ; the team using the session to gather data on a new upgrade package rather than targeting outright pace or race simulations with the number nine car ; a cycle which would be repeated again on his next foray from the comfort of the pit box.
More light rain ensued shortly afterwards, with the E20s confined to their cages along with each of the other twenty-two cars in the field. With just ten minutes remaining and the track drying out, a host of cars piled out onto the circuit for final runs of the morning ; among them Romain on a fresh set of the white marked medium compound tyres, shortly followed by his team-mate on another aero run with the same rubber as the Frenchman.
As the chequered flag dropped and a round of practice pit stops were completed, Kimi found himself in P15 with a best time of 1:18.831 from 14 laps, while Romain heads into the afternoon having set a 1:18.130 from 21 laps – good enough for P10 at the break.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m16.595 27 2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m17.093s + 0.498 22 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m17.370s + 0.775 21 4. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m17.382s + 0.787 20 5. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m17.413s + 0.818 28 6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m17.599s + 1.004 17 7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m17.915s + 1.320 27 8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m17.995s + 1.400 22 9. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m18.020s + 1.425 20 10. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m18.130s + 1.535 21 11. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m18.226s + 1.631 22 12. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m18.339s + 1.744 21 13. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m18.422s + 1.827 28 14. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m18.709s + 2.114 30 15. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m18.831s + 2.236 14 16. Jules Bianchi Force India-Mercedes 1m18.972s + 2.377 21 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m19.039s + 2.444 34 18. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m19.674s + 3.079 24 19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m19.963s + 3.368 24 20. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m20.122s + 3.527 27 21. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m20.169s + 3.574 20 22. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m20.539s + 3.944 18 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m21.138s + 4.543 24 24. Dani Clos HRT-Cosworth 1m21.740s + 5.145 27
Sky Sports F1 channel aired this Kimi Raikkonen feature on the 20th July, in build up to the 2012 German Grand Prix.