Report – The track was damp at the start after earlier rainfall and hardly anyone went out on track therefore for the first 30 minutes. With 25 minutes left, the track was dry enough for slicks and the track finally got busy. Raikkonen and Alonso did 9 laps each, first on the Medium tyres and then simulated qualifying on the Softs. Kimi’s best time was a 1.49.817, while Fernando stopped the clocks in 1.49.890. The fight for pole gets underway at 2pm when rain might well be on the agenda again.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m49.465s 12 2. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m49.733s +0.268s 9 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m49.739s +0.274s 13 4. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m49.817s +0.352s 9 5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m49.817s +0.352s 13 6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m49.890s +0.425s 9 7. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m49.893s +0.428s 11 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m50.203s +0.738s 11 9. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m50.423s +0.958s 11 10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m50.535s +1.070s 10 11. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m50.592s +1.127s 12 12. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m50.748s +1.283s 11 13. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m50.814s +1.349s 10 14. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m50.866s +1.401s 11 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m50.962s +1.497s 12 16. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m51.509s +2.044s 9 17. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m51.610s +2.145s 10 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m51.898s +2.433s 15 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m52.457s +2.992s 14 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m52.984s +3.519s 14 21. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m54.294s +3.829s 11 22. Andre Lotterer Caterham-Renault 1m55.008s +5.543s 13
Q: You’ve worked with both the drivers that you’re with at the moment quite a lot through your career. Obviously what Fernando is doing this season is fairly clear but can you spell out or put your finger on what’s characterised Kimi’s season so far?
JA: Well, I would say that we have had a car that is not especially easy to drive – that’s certainly true. Particularly in Kimi’s case he doesn’t much like the front end of the car and Kimi’s a driver who likes to have a very strong and predictable front end to the car and then he’s able to make the most of the skill he had. That isn’t something he’s found yet in Ferrari and we haven’t yet provided for him. That’s, I think, what we’re looking at.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) James, as Fernando and Kimi, they have different kinds of driving style. Is it possible to build a car that suits both of them next year?
JA: Yeah, I think so. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t, put it that way. Any driver responds to more downforce, any driver responds to more horsepower, any driver responds to more mechanical grip. We’re putting all of those things into next year’s car and I hope that both the drivers will be satisfied with the outcome.
[ Source: autosport.com ]
Report – Mixed fortunes for Scuderia Ferrari in the second Friday session. Fernando Alonso was again third, while Kimi Raikkonen had an electrical problem, which did not stop him running, but meant he could not push to the maximum, thus affecting his lap times, so that he ended up fifteenth fastest.
Alonso did 19 laps this afternoon, his best being a 1.49.930, one more than Raikkonen, whose fastest lap was a 1.52.234.
Both drivers continued to work on set-up and completed tyre evaluation work, this time also running the Soft Option brought here by Pirelli.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m49.189s 26 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m49.793s +0.604s 28 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m49.930s +0.741s 19 4. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m50.327s +1.138s 24 5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m50.659s +1.470s 31 6. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m50.677s +1.488s 26 7. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m50.725s +1.536s 25 8. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m50.977s +1.788s 16 9. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m51.074s +1.885s 31 10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m51.077s +1.888s 26 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m51.383s +2.194s 26 12. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m51.450s +2.261s 29 13. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m51.573s +2.384s 28 14. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m52.196s +3.007s 25 15. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m52.234s +3.045s 18 16. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m52.776s +3.587s 23 17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m53.955s +4.766s 7 18. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m54.040s +4.851s 18 19. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m54.050s +4.861s 30 20. Andre Lotterer Caterham-Renault 1m54.093s +4.904s 24 21. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault no time 2 22. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault no time
Report – Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen ended the first free practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix in third and fifth places respectively. On a sun-kissed Spa track, the Spaniard completed 16 laps and the Finn 17.
Alonso’s best time was a 1.51.805 while Raikkonen stopped the clocks in 1.52.818. In the morning, both Scuderia Ferrari drivers worked on set-up as usual and concentrated on assessing the Pirelli Medium tyres, which are being run this weekend along with the Soft compound.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m51.577s 25 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m51.674s +0.097s 24 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m51.805s +0.228s 16 4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m52.404s +0.827s 21 5. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m52.818s +1.241s 17 6. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m52.903s +1.326s 24 7. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m52.922s +1.345s 23 8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m52.937s +1.360s 22 9. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m52.972s +1.395s 19 10. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m53.172s +1.595s 20 11. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m53.369s +1.792s 11 12. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m53.594s +2.017s 21 13. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m53.597s +2.020s 20 14. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m53.703s +2.126s 14 15. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m53.968s +2.391s 20 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m54.189s +2.612s 20 17. Giedo van der Garde Sauber-Ferrari 1m54.335s +2.758s 16 18. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m55.336s +3.759s 21 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m55.782s +4.205s 19 20. Alexander Rossi Marussia-Ferrari 1m57.232s +5.655s 20 21. Andre Lotterer Caterham-Renault 1m57.886s +6.309s 24 22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m57.977s +6.400s 24
Kimi Raikkonen: “A difficult day, complicated by a series of setbacks which cost us valuable track time. In the morning, I had a brake problem, but once it was sorted, we were able to get through our planned programme for the first session. The new components we brought for this race seem to be working, but only after we have cross-referenced all the data will we be able to work out what is the best package to use for the rest of the weekend. In the afternoon, an electrical problem complicated our work, preventing us from carrying out the race simulation. Tomorrow, we can expect a busy free practice session, in which we will do our best to prepare the car for qualifying and the race.”
Pat Fry: “The Spa circuit is a very enjoyable one for the drivers and at the same time it presents a great challenge for we engineers, especially this year because of the parameters linked to the new Power Unit. In order to gather as much data as possible, we chose to run different programmes with our drivers. Unfortunately, in the second session, Kimi’s work was affected by an electrical problem, which although it didn’t prevent him running, did mean he couldn’t make the most of all the systems. In the first and third sectors, top speed counts the most, while in the middle one, driveability and aerodynamic downforce come into play more and that makes finding the right set-up especially demanding, even more so when looking to the race, because while extra downforce can be an advantage in the second sector, it slows the cars on the straights, making it harder to attack and defend in the race. We are working hard on the efficiency of the car in general and on the thermal energy side of the Power Unit, but I think that at tracks like this one and Monza, which highlights these characteristics on our rivals’ cars, we will have to try and defend with all means available and attack where and when possible.”
Kimi on current F1, racing at Spa + F1 kid Max Verstappen
The Spa circuit is famous for its high speed challenge and, at his usual Thursday meeting with the media in the Belgian paddock, Kimi Raikkonen was asked if he regretted the fact the current cars are a bit slower than in the past. “In a way yes, if you think of F1, you’d think we would have everything possible in the car to make them go faster, as it was in the past,” began the Scuderia Ferrari driver. “But obviously, now the rules have changed aimed at making the cars slower, while improving the show. I think the cars looked nicer in the past and were much more challenging to drive and it was more fun in some ways. On the other side, maybe we have more overtaking now, but sometimes I think it would be nice to go back and race with the cars from the past.”
When Kimi made his F1 debut there were concerns voiced about his lack of experience, so he is ideally placed to comment on the story of the day, next year’s arrival of the currently 16 year old Max Verstappen at Toro Rosso. “I did one full year, 23 races in a car before coming to F1,” recalled the Finn. “He has probably done more. I did well; time will tell how he will do. The sport is more straightforward now than in the past, the points are given out to more finishers. So I don’t think he will have problems and I hope he does well.”
Kimi’s last win at Spa came at the wheel of a Ferrari in 2009, which at the time he described as “a miracle.” He was asked what a victory would represent on Sunday. “It would be a similar story!” he said. “That year, we were one of the few teams running KERS and that was a good help for us here. Hopefully we can have a good weekend overall and a good race, so that we start improving. But here and Monza are probably not the easiest places for us as we are missing some straightline speed, which is very important at this circuit and the next one. I think that the final part of the season can only be better for us, especially as I’ve had a much better feeling from the car at the last two races.”
[ Source: ferrari.com ]
Kimi Raikkonen does not think the summer break will have changed the fact he felt better in the Ferrari F14 T than he has done all season in Hungary.
Raikkonen’s struggles since his return to Ferrari have been well-documented, especially as he has been out-performed by Fernando Alonso at every race this season. At the beginning of the year Raikkonen was struggling to find the right setting for his car but he thinks the signs from the last few races suggest he is ready to turn a corner.
“I think overall the second half can only get better,” Raikkonen said. “If it gets worse, obviously it’s pretty bad. These two circuits [Spa and Monza] on paper are not the strongest for us but there’s been a better feeling in the car overall in the last few races. I don’t think that’s suddenly disappeared somewhere, we’ve had some new things, small things, which have improved.
“There’s a much better feeling now than there was in the first races of the year because I knew those issues and couldn’t do anything about it at that moment. We are making the right steps and hopefully it’s going to be a bit easier in the second half.”
When asked whether he can pull off another miracle result in Belgium as he did in 2009, when he won his first race of a frustrating season, Raikkonen said he is not too optimistic. “I think it is a similar story but that year we were one of the only ones to run with the KERS and in this kind of place it was a good help for us. Now it’s a bit different, though it’s a difficult year again. Hopefully we can have a good weekend weekend overall and start improving things.
“I expect here and Monza will not be the easiest places for us with the speed we are missing on a straight line, a very important part of those circuits. We will do our best and see where we end up.”
[ Source: espn.co.uk ]
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