An overcast but dry start to the second day’s running at the Circuit de Catalunya saw Kimi and Romain take P2 / P4 respectively in the final practice session…
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m21.901s 13 2. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m21.907s + 0.006s 14 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m22.044s + 0.143s 17 4. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m22.069s + 0.168s 13 5. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m22.229s + 0.328s 17 6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m22.254s + 0.353s 15 7. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m22.574s + 0.673s 11 8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m22.729s + 0.828s 17 9. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m22.740s + 0.839s 24 10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m22.759s + 0.858s 15 11. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m22.839s + 0.938s 26 12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m23.151s + 1.250s 13 13. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m23.371s + 1.470s 21 14. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m23.373s + 1.472s 13 15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m23.385s + 1.484s 17 16. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m23.388s + 1.487s 18 17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m23.660s + 1.759s 16 18. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m23.767s + 1.866s 17 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m24.775s + 2.874s 18 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m24.793s + 2.892s 16 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m25.135s + 3.234s 17 22. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m25.250s + 3.349s 18
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
Fourth fastest after the opening day’s action, Kimi gives us his view on a closely packed field here at the Circuit de Catalunya…
Q: How was your Friday in Barcelona?
KR: It was a pretty normal Friday. We tried some new things on the car, ran with some different tyres and we’ll have a look at all the data to see where we think we are. We finished the day not too far off the fastest time, so we can say that the day wasn’t a disaster, but for sure there are some things we have to improve with the car which is normal after the first day’s running.
Q: Times are pretty tight at the front of the pack today; should that make qualifying interesting tomorrow?
KR: I guess it’s going to be very close in qualifying too. We aren’t always especially fast in qualifying so we’ll have to see what we can do. We have to get everything right to fight for a good position and then we’ll see where we end up.
Q: How did you find the revised hard compound tyre?
KR: It’s okay.
Q: Does the car feel any different with the latest upgrades?
KR: It’s difficult to compare. We were here last time in the winter and the car has changed quite a lot since then. It feels okay on track; we’re looking at the data to see if the new parts are doing what they should, which is the normal way we do these things.
Q: Does the change of tyres to a harder allocation for this race make any difference to you?
KR: It makes no difference to me; they’re the same for everyone and we all try to get the most performance from them.
With a dry circuit now at their mercy, Friday afternoon at the Circuit de Catalunya meant a session of upgrade evaluation for Kimi and Romain. P4 / P18 was the result; here’s how it happened…
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m22.808s 34 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m22.825s + 0.017s 35 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m22.891s + 0.083s 36 4. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m23.030s + 0.222s 32 5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m23.110s + 0.302s 37 6. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m23.140s + 0.332s 35 7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m23.398s + 0.590s 45 8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m23.840s + 1.032s 37 9. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m24.058s + 1.250s 31 10. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m24.104s + 1.296s 25 11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m24.175s + 1.367s 32 12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.306s + 1.498s 35 13. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.854s + 2.046s 31 14. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m24.888s + 2.080s 38 15. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.167s + 2.359s 38 16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m25.321s + 2.513s 32 17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.441s + 2.633s 37 18. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m25.851s + 3.043s 35 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m25.963s + 3.155s 30 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m26.078s + 3.270s 31 21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m26.930s + 4.122s 35 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m26.970s + 4.162s 25
Kimi Raikkonen – 8th/4th: “It was a pretty normal Friday. We tried some things on the car, ran with some different tyres and we’ll have a look at all the data to see where we think we are. We finished the day not too far off the fastest time, so we can say that the day wasn’t a disaster, but for sure there are some things we have to improve with the car which is normal after the first day’s running.”
Romain Grosjean – 4th/18th: “Today was okay. It may not look great on the timesheets, but we didn’t finish our lap on the medium tyres as I had to come back in. The circuit isn’t an easy one to understand in terms of tyre performance as there is a lot of degradation, and of course this morning the weather conditions made things a bit difficult. We completed a good number of laps to collect as much data as possible, so we’ll be working on the set-up this evening where we should be able to take some steps forwards.”
A cool, damp start to the weekend at the Circuit de Catalunya saw Kimi and Romain end the morning in P8 / P4 respectively; a somewhat mixed field the result of drying conditions out on track.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m25.252s 20 2. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m25.455s + 0.203s 20 3. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m25.667s + 0.415s 25 4. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m26.042s + 0.790s 21 5. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m26.212s + 0.960s 24 6. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m26.374s + 1.122s 19 7. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m26.456s + 1.204s 20 8. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m26.614s + 1.362s 21 9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m26.621s + 1.369s 21 10. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m26.755s + 1.503s 16 11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.940s + 1.688s 26 12. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.061s + 1.809s 24 13. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m27.135s + 1.883s 6 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.250s + 1.998s 26 15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m27.576s + 2.324s 24 16. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m28.600s + 3.348s 19 17. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m28.887s + 3.635s 14 18. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m29.177s + 3.925s 14 19. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m29.457s + 4.205s 11 20. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m29.473s + 4.221s 21 21. Rodolfo Gonzalez Marussia-Cosworth 1m30.314s + 5.062s 12 22. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes no time 6
Kimi Raikkonen says Lotus would be ‘stupid’ not to believe it is knuckling down for a world championship fight this year.
The Finn is just ten points adrift of points leader Sebastian Vettel after the first four races of the year, and its car has proved to be a step forward on last year’s challenger.
Although there is still a view that Red Bull has the out-and-out fastest car, Raikkonen says there is absolutely no reason for Lotus not to set its sights on glory at the end of the campaign.
“It would be stupid to say we are not going to fight for the championship,” he explained.
“The only reason why we are here is to try to win championships and races. Obviously we want to fight for it, but you only have to have a couple of bad races and you might be out of it completely.
“We’ll try to make the maximum out of every weekend and in the long run that’s key to the championship.”
Raikkonen said that Lotus was not concerned about any specific element of its package – with qualifying the most notable area it can do better – and was just focusing on trying to improve in all areas.
“We try to improve everything,” he said. “If we improve the car, we’ll automatically improve our qualifying. It all goes hand in hand.
“There’s no magic where you suddenly do one thing and you’re faster in qualifying. If we make the car faster we improve our pace in all conditions.
“You always want to do better. We still have some things that need looking after, and especially in Malaysia [where it rained] we had some issues that could have been better.
“Right now we’ve put ourselves in a pretty good position so let’s see if we can keep it going and improve.”
With less than a second covering the top twelve drivers in this morning’s practice session, qualifying looks set to be tighter than ever…
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m33.247s 12 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m33.348s + 0.101s 15 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m33.380s + 0.133s 19 4. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m33.446s + 0.199s 21 5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m33.455s + 0.208s 19 6. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m33.464s + 0.217s 19 7. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m33.596s + 0.349s 17 8. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m33.700s + 0.453s 15 9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m33.764s + 0.517s 19 10. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m33.922s + 0.675s 17 11. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m33.949s + 0.702s 20 12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m34.117s + 0.870s 17 13. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m34.282s + 1.035s 18 14. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m34.577s + 1.330s 16 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m34.611s + 1.364s 17 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m34.678s + 1.431s 16 17. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m34.833s + 1.586s 17 18. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m35.816s + 2.569s 16 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m36.731s + 3.484s 17 20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m36.939s + 3.692s 16 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m37.630s + 4.383s 7 22. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m39.592s + 6.345s 28
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
Topping the times on day one here at Bahrain International Circuit, Kimi is pleased with his day’s work, but knows there is still plenty of work to do…
Q: You’ve ended the day top of the times; does that send out a message to the competition?
KR: It’s nice to be fastest but you never know what the others are doing; we just stick to our programme and don’t take too much notice of what else is happening. I actually made a mistake through the final corners on my fastest lap, so there’s still more time to be found.
Q: How are you feeling with the car so far this weekend?
KR: It wasn’t a bad start today; things aren’t exactly where we want them and there’s always improvements you can make, but we’re reasonably fast. It’s tricky to get the setup right here and the wind can make a big difference; it might work for you one way but make things more tricky the other. It’s all in the small details; if you get it right or wrong you might see a second per lap difference either way and things can change very quickly. We tried a few new things and they seem to be working ok so we’ll see how that develops over the weekend.
Q: You’ve had some great results from slightly more modest grid positions; how important is qualifying here?
KR: It’s the same as always; you want to be as close to the front as possible. The fewer cars there are in front of you the less chance you have of getting caught in traffic which helps you stay with the leaders and also save your tyres. Of course it’s possible to get good results from further back, but a strong qualifying and clean start make things a lot easier.
Q: China produced your best qualifying result for the team; can you match that here?
KR: You never know on Friday if you’ll be fast enough to fight for pole and there’s no point comparing one race to another; it’s a different track and different conditions so we just have to take one weekend at a time. Tomorrow is a new day, we still have one more practice session before qualifying and things can change very quickly. We should be ok but you never know. Let’s see what we can do from here.
Video: Sky Sports interview
Q: We have a debate in Formula One, as F1 fans, what’s more important: good car or a good driver. At the moment you’ve got a good car and in Kimi Räikkönen a very good driver – how important is Kimi Räikkönen to the long-term success of the Lotus team?
EB: I think he’s part of the success, or sort of success, that we’ve had since a couple of years, or let’s say at least last year. It’s true that Kimi does help the team stepping up but behind Kimi there are a lot of people – and good people – working hard and actually working well. I think as usual it’s to get the full package really working all together. Then you can see some results.
Kimi Raikkonen edged out the Red Bulls for the fastest time in second Friday practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir.
Raikkonen’s pacesetting lap of 1m34.154s in his Lotus came just after the halfway point.
It could have been faster still, as the Finn ran wide at the final corner on the way to the flag. Yet even with that slip, Raikkonen’s pace was sufficient to edge him 0.030 seconds of Mark Webber, who had been in front for the preceding 20 minutes.
Raikkonen then set an encouraging pace on his later long run, although he was keen to come in earlier than Lotus wanted him to as his tyres faded.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m34.154s 31 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m34.184s + 0.030s 26 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m34.282s + 0.128s 29 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m34.310s + 0.156s 28 5. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m34.543s + 0.389s 35 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m34.552s + 0.398s 34 7. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m34.631s + 0.477s 33 8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m34.666s + 0.512s 37 9. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m34.932s + 0.778s 33 10. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m34.976s + 0.822s 29 11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.356s + 1.202s 32 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m35.506s + 1.352s 36 13. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.5$9s + 1.435s 36 14. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m35.761s + 1.607s 33 15. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.133s + 1.979s 36 16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m36.279s + 2.125s 33 17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m36.579s + 2.425s 28 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.616s + 2.462s 34 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m37.061s + 2.907s 32 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m37.313s + 3.159s 33 21. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m37.363s + 3.209s 29 22. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m37.970s + 3.816s 34
Kimi Raikkonen – 9th/1st: “It’s nice to be fastest but you never know what the others are doing; we just stick to our programme and don’t take too much notice of what else is happening. I actually made a mistake through the final corners on my fastest lap, so there’s still more time to be found. It’s tricky to get the setup right here and the wind can make a big difference; it might work for you one way but make things more tricky the other. It wasn’t a bad start today; things aren’t exactly where we want them but we’re reasonably fast, so let’s see what we can do from here.”
Romain Grosjean – 10th/7th: “The new chassis feels good. Today we’ve been working on getting the right correlation between chassis, setup and tyres to extract everything we want from it. It’s easy to know what you want, the difficult bit is getting the little details sorted, but we’re getting there and it’s been a positive day. We’ve seen that Kimi was fastest today so that gives us a great target for tomorrow.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “It was a fairly standard Friday for us, which is a nice way to start the weekend. We looked at setup work in the morning before moving to longer runs, higher fuel race pace and degradation analysis on both tyre compounds in the afternoon, with no problems or interruptions to the programme. We were able to push both allocated compounds of tyres pretty well in the hot conditions today and generally the cars are well balanced. Romain’s running a new chassis and overall is happy with the car so we’re looking forward to an exciting qualifying session tomorrow.”
Video: Slow motion
Setup tweaks, upgrade analysis and rafts of data logging dominated the opening session for Kimi & Romain here in Bahrain. P9 / P10 was the result; here’s how it happened…
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m34.487s 11 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m34.564s + 0.077s 19 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m34.621s + 0.134s 22 4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m34.790s + 0.303s 20 5. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m34.949s + 0.462s 17 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.069s + 0.582s 22 7. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m35.101s + 0.614s 19 8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m35.119s + 0.632s 19 9. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m35.345s + 0.858s 17 10. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m35.611s + 1.124s 14 11. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.640s + 1.153s 23 12. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m35.783s + 1.296s 16 13. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m35.792s + 1.305s 16 14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m36.014s + 1.527s 19 15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m36.485s + 1.998s 20 16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m36.498s + 2.011s 17 17. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.755s + 2.268s 20 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m37.214s + 2.727s 21 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m37.850s + 3.363s 20 20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m38.401s + 3.914s 20 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m39.445s + 4.958s 12 22. Rodolfo Gonzalez Marussia-Cosworth 1m40.215s + 5.728s 7
Asked if money will factor into Raikkonen’s decision, Boullier said: “Kimi doesn’t race for the money.
“For him it’s very important that he feels at home and has the freedom to be who he is. So I really see no reason why he should leave. I don’t know if other teams would treat him as well as we do. We can definitely afford him,” he insisted.
“We have more money than last year,” added Boullier.
The final practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix saw Kimi and Romain take P7 / P18 respetively, giving the team plenty to think about before qualifying this afternoon.
Just seen Kimi strolling in to the paddock… Half an hour to go before FP3 !
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m35.391s 13 2. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m36.013s + 0.622s 11 3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m36.065s + 0.674s 18 4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m36.286s + 0.895s 17 5. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m36.420s + 1.029s 15 6. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m36.549s + 1.158s 16 7. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m36.605s + 1.214s 16 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.693s + 1.302s 16 9. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.777s + 1.386s 16 10. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.853s + 1.462s 15 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m37.072s + 1.681s 15 12. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m37.205s + 1.814s 18 13. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m37.300s + 1.909s 11 14. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m37.349s + 1.958s 12 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m37.457s + 2.066s 16 16. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m37.487s + 2.096s 13 17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m37.740s + 2.349s 20 18. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m37.813s + 2.422s 16 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m38.496s + 3.105s 17 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m38.821s + 3.430s 18 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m39.627s + 4.236s 16 22. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m39.652s + 4.261s 18
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
After setting the second fastest time in the opening day of action in Shanghai, Kimi’s confident that good things could happen this weekend.
Q: How was the first day out on track?
KR: If you look at the lap time it looks to have been a pretty okay day. For sure, there are things we have to improve and you never know what will happen tomorrow, but it’s a reasonable start to the weekend. We seem to be happy with the soft tyres and maybe not as happy with the harder ones, but we’ve still got time to improve and we’re certainly not struggling so it could be a good weekend.
Q: How does the soft tyre feel better than the medium?
KR: The softer tyre seems to have much more grip and it suited our car better today. For some teams the soft tyre gives a big improvement, for other teams not so much. We will have to see how many laps the soft tyre last for as that will be important in the race. For sure it will be the tyre we use to qualify on.
Q: Is there much more pace to come from the car?
KR: We can definitely improve. We have some pace to come from the car in the usual areas with setup. We’re not far from where we want to be, but if we can find a little more speed with the harder tyres we’ll be happy. My quick lap today could have been better, so there’s some more pace to come even if we don’t improve the car, but hopefully we do…
Selected quotes from Finnish/Chinese media, translations courtesy of Nicole from racingnerds.com:
What do those flags mean to Räikkönen?
“It’s nice – especially since it’s really not so that a Finn carries each flag. It’s better this way than no flags waving at all.”
The Chinese media asked Kimi if the E21-car has championship-potential.
“We will see it at the end of the season. The last race in Malaysia wasn’t ideal in that sense. We won the opening race in Australia and are at least in a better position than last year at this stage,” Kimi said.
“At this very moment it looks like we have all the chances to drive for the title, but I have no idea what will happen during the season.
“We do our best every weekend and hopefully we are fighting for the championship at the end of the season.
In paddock-rumours Räikkönen is placed in Webber’s seat next season. Kimi isn’t interested in the subject at all.
“They always talk and speculate a lot in F1, who is going where and what is happening here and there. It’s completely normal and it’s also cool when your own name is mentioned, but I have no interest to start commenting on rumours, I haven’t done it before either,” Räikkönen said.
Räikkönen has confessed that he is Vettel’s buddy. Can you be friends with a teammate?
“I’m sure that there are friends who are teammates. In the final games nobody are enemies to each other. But can teammates be closest friends – I doubt it.
“Usually relationships are normal. At least I haven’t had any difficulties with any teammate. Then again I can only speak for myself…
Eric Boullier told in Lotus-team’s statement that Räikkönen walks his own path and that he is not going to start looking after Kimi and give him advice. Does an approach like this make Boullier the best possible team manager for Räikkönen?
“Well each team have their own discipline. Each team works in their own way. When we do everything 100 % we don’t get complaints and there hasn’t been any problems,” Räikkönen said.
What does Räikkönen think about team orders?
“There’s nothing new with that compared to earlier. I mean there have been team orders for at least the last 15 years. Sometimes they are ok, sometimes they hurt.”
Kimi Räikkönen set the second fastest time of the first day during the opening sessions for round three of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship; the Chinese Grand Prix. Kimi lapped the Shanghai International Circuit in a time of 1min 35.492secs during a soft tyre run in the afternoon session. Romain Grosjean was hampered on his flying lap using the softs; ending his second session with the twelfth fastest time. Romain conducted comparison work on the team’s latest exhaust package and ran with a new front wing, while Kimi trialled new rear floor aero parts.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m35.340s 32 2. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m35.492s + 0.152s 32 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m35.755s + 0.415s 30 4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m35.819s + 0.479s 35 5. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m36.092s + 0.752s 31 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.432s + 1.092s 29 7. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m36.496s + 1.156s 39 8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m36.514s + 1.174s 32 9. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m36.595s + 1.255s 33 10. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m36.791s + 1.451s 27 11. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.940s + 1.600s 16 12. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m36.963s + 1.623s 31 13. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m37.103s + 1.763s 22 14. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m37.206s + 1.866s 39 15. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.127s + 2.787s 34 16. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m38.185s + 2.845s 18 17. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.211s + 2.871s 32 18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m38.276s + 2.936s 34 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m38.725s + 3.385s 29 20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m39.271s + 3.931s 21 21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m39.814s + 4.474s 27 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m43.227s + 7.887s 5
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m36.717s 21 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m37.171s + 0.454s 20 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m37.658s + 0.941s 21 4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m37.942s + 1.225s 20 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.965s + 1.248s 17 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.069s + 1.352s 24 7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m38.095s + 1.378s 14 8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m38.125s + 1.408s 21 9. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m38.398s + 1.681s 17 10. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m38.561s + 1.844s 15 11. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m38.790s + 2.073s 16 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.057s + 2.340s 19 13. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m39.158s + 2.441s 22 14. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m39.180s + 2.463s 21 15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.336s + 2.619s 19 16. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m39.360s + 2.643s 20 17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m39.392s + 2.675s 20 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.032s + 3.315s 22 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.966s + 5.249s 16 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m42.056s + 5.339s 18 21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m42.083s + 5.366s 21 22. Ma Qing Hua Caterham-Renault 1m43.545s + 6.828s 20
News & Quotes:
A number of drivers voiced their concerns with the soft tyre after Friday practice, with Felipe Massa saying his Ferrari was completely different on each compound and Lewis Hamilton questioning whether the soft was the right choice by Pirelli. Raikkonen, however, said that the only difference from other race weekends was the difference in lap time gains.
“[The soft] seems to have more grip on it so I think some teams improve a lot, some teams not so much,” Raikkonen said. “That’s how it’s been the whole year; some cars benefit on some tyres and some on others.
“I think it’s normal in the race. You try to push on lap one. Everyone always says “Oh you have to take it easy”, but you never see that happen in the race. If you have a big gap then you can take it more easy, but usually you push on the first laps because that’s when you can gain places most easily.”
Kimi Raikkonen – 11th/2nd: “If you look at the lap time it looks to have been a pretty okay day. For sure there are things we have to improve and you never know what will happen tomorrow but it’s a reasonable start to the weekend. We seem to be happy with the soft tyres and maybe not as happy with the harder ones. We’ve still got time to improve and we’re certainly not struggling so it could be a good weekend.”
Romain Grosjean – 9th/12th: “Today was not so easy for me and I’m still looking for the right setup. I ran with the new exhaust package in the morning and the older one in the afternoon to try to help find where improvements can be made. We now have a lot of data to help find the extra performance we want. The new front wing helps, so that’s a step in the right direction. In Malaysia we developed the car as the weekend continued and there are of course a few things we can change overnight. It’s a new day tomorrow and we’ll hopefully be able to have the car as I’d like it for a strong result this weekend.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “We’re reasonably happy with what was a fairly normal Friday for us. Kimi’s pace looks strong and he felt he could have gone faster on his flying lap. Romain’s lap time is not representative after he got caught up behind Lewis [Hamilton] during his option run. The grip level between the two tyres through certain corners is quite noticeable and – as we saw during winter testing – the lifespan of the soft tyre could be a talking point. There’s no doubt it’s the tyre for qualifying, but making it last in the race will be a challenge. Overall we’re pleased with the car in terms of pace, high fuel performance and tyre preservation; hopefully we can look forward to a strong weekend ahead.”
P5 / P14 for Kimi and Romain in this afternoon’s final practice session; setup tweaks and tyre assessment the order of the day as the countdown to qualifying begins.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m36.435 20 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m36.568s + 0.133s 17 3. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m36.588s + 0.153s 19 4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m36.613s + 0.178s 20 5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m36.806s + 0.371s 19 6. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m36.807s + 0.372s 18 7. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.822s + 0.387s 16 8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m36.946s + 0.511s 14 9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m36.949s + 0.514s 24 10. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.302s + 0.867s 14 11. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m37.359s + 0.924s 11 12. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m37.538s + 1.103s 12 13. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m37.685s + 1.250s 23 14. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m37.690s + 1.255s 14 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m37.936s + 1.501s 16 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.294s + 1.859s 17 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.376s + 1.941s 16 18. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.425s + 1.990s 15 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m38.995s + 2.560s 18 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m39.717s + 3.282s 21 21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m40.209s + 3.774s 18 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m40.495s + 4.060s 18
| Source: formula1.com |
A race win at round one in Australia and top of the timesheets on Friday in Malaysia – things are looking good for Kimi Raikkonen and Lotus. But as is his way, Raikkonen is playing down his early form at Sepang, only too aware that plenty could change between now and the chequered flag on Sunday…
Q: Kimi, aren’t the conditions reminding you of a Finnish sauna?
Kimi Raikkonen: That is in fact a completely different story. Yes, it is humid and so probably not the easiest place to be, but the track is nice. And the conditions are the same for everybody – so why worry about it?
Q: Niki Lauda said in Melbourne that you are his kind of driver, as you remind him of the times when drivers were real racers – like in the days of James Hunt and himself. Would that have been your era – the seventies? A time with less media, but intense racing?
KR: Yeah, I am a fan of the old times. Racing was more dangerous so it was a bit more exciting. You paid a huge price when you made a mistake. But as we all know that we cannot bring back the so-called ‘good old times’, I try to pick the best out of the present. And at the moment the present is all well with me! (laughs)
Q: Can you recap that Melbourne race a bit? You started from seventh position, and while everybody was focused on what Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso were doing you sneaked past them and won…
KR: Looking back, that Sunday didn’t start too well. In fact I was pretty disappointed from qualifying. I definitely thought there should have been more for me. But considering where I started last year I told myself: don’t complain and make it better in the race. I felt that I had a good car and it turned out as such.
Q: You dared to run a two-stop strategy. Your former team principal Stefano Domenicali said that he still believes three stops was the right thing to do. You won – so your choice must have been better…
KR: With no real data from the winter tests it is almost impossible to bank on any strategy being right – probably your gut feeling is the best signpost. We followed ours, took some risks and it paid off. I could save the tyres and I could go fast if I needed – I could really drive very easily, almost cruising to the chequered flag. It was one of my easiest wins – if you can ever consider winning an easy task.
Q: So what about here in Malaysia? With you on a high, do the others have any chance? Especially after this afternoon?
KR: Look at this place: it is hot, it is humid and the track is completely different. On top of this we could see rain at any point of the race, so how should I know what is happening on Sunday afternoon? The only thing that I can say right here right now is that the car is good, that the team is working fantastically and that I want to keep the lead in the drivers’ standings. Let’s see where these factors will bring us in the race.
Q: So let’s recap: today it went pretty well for you, despite all the uncertainties you just mentioned, so the indications are that you will be able to defend your position on Sunday…
KR: It is the first time that we really run in hot weather, so we have to set-up the car carefully to make the tyres work to our advantage in a long, demanding race. At the moment I would say that it is trial and error for all of us, and the more you are able to try the more you have the chance to eliminate any errors. It looked good for us this afternoon, but it is Friday so it doesn’t mean much.
Q: It is known that you and Sebastian Vettel have some kind of friendship. When asked how he sees that friendship, his reply was that he respects your honesty and down-to-earth attitude. How could that change, now that you are really racing wheel-to-wheel for victories for the first time?
KR: Seb is for me an honest guy – and, yes, we get along very well. What happens on the track and life outside the cockpit are two completely different pairs of shoes. We are both professionals who can separate one from the other. I always wonder what people are expecting us to do? That we are running with a knife through the paddock seeking revenge after a race incident, or what?
Q: Your contract runs until the end of the year. Now that things are really working out well for you, are you considering staying?
KR: Let’s wait and see. We’ve only done one race so far, so it’s a bit premature to make any decisions for 2014.
Q: What’s your guess for Sunday?
KR: That it will be a tough race and that all the ‘usual suspects’ have won here in the past so we know how to do it! (laughs)
Video: Iceman – His real name
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
Second in the morning and fastest in the afternoon, it seems Kimi is picking up where he left of last weekend here in Malaysia. What does it all mean to the Iceman? Have a guess…
Q: You were full of praise for the car after Melbourne; how does it feel here in Sepang?
KR: It’s the same car we had at the last race and we won there so we know it can be fast. We tried changing a few things, made some progress with where we wanted to be at the end of the sessions and it feels just as good as it did in Australia. There was also some running in the wet which you often get around here and the car feels fine in any conditions.
Q: Managing the tyres was one of the key elements of your victory last weekend; will this be a more daunting task in the Malaysian heat?
KR: We didn’t complete a long run this afternoon like we planned because of the rain so it’s hard to say how the tyres will be, but they were ok last time so hopefully it will be the same here.
Q: We’ve seen showers almost as intense as the heat here already; how does the changeable weather affect you in the car?
KR: I don’t really mind about the weather; we can’t change it and it’s the same for everybody. It’s hot when you walk around the paddock, but you don’t notice it so much in the car with all the air coming into the cockpit. Like I said, the car feels good in all conditions so I’m not worried what happens.
Q: So overall a good start to the weekend?
KR: It was a pretty good day and it’s always nice to be fastest, but of course that doesn’t mean it will be the same for the whole weekend. We ran pretty heavy so I don’t know what will happen when everyone is light for qualifying, but I’m happy with where we are and expect we’ll be reasonable tomorrow. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
Kimi Raikkonen beat Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa to the top spot in a close second Formula 1 practice session in Malaysia before rain intervened. A heavy shower approaching the hour mark ensured that the 1m36.569s that Raikkonen had done on medium tyres 36 minutes in would stand as the fastest lap of the day.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m36.569 28 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m36.588s + 0.019s 27 3. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m36.661s + 0.092s 33 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m36.985s + 0.416s 23 5. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m37.026s + 0.457s 29 6. Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 1m37.206s + 0.637s 26 7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m37.448s + 0.879s 32 8. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m37.571s + 1.002s 30 9. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m37.574s + 1.005s 32 10. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m37.788s + 1.219s 10 11. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m37.838s + 1.269s 21 12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m37.865s + 1.296s 29 13. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.068s + 1.499s 31 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.645s + 2.076s 23 15. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.738s + 2.169s 31 16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m38.801s + 2.232s 27 17. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.904s + 2.335s 31 18. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m39.508s + 2.939s 30 19. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m39.660s + 3.091s 28 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m40.757s + 4.188s 29 21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m40.768s + 4.199s 32 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.438s + 4.869s 23
Kimi P2, Romain P10 during FP1 at the Sepang International Circuit this morning. Throw in a KERS battery change, new exhaust setup and two front wing variations and you have one busy start to the weekend…
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m36.935s 15 2. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m37.003s + 0.068s 15 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m37.104s + 0.169s 21 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.319s + 0.384s 13 5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m37.588s + 0.653s 19 6. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m37.769s + 0.834s 17 7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m37.771s + 0.836s 15 8. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m37.773s + 0.838s 15 9. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m37.840s + 0.905s 18 10. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m37.915s + 0.980s 17 11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.173s + 1.238s 16 12. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m38.673s + 1.738s 16 13. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.830s + 1.895s 17 14. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m39.054s + 2.119s 17 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m39.204s + 2.269s 16 16. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m39.208s + 2.273s 19 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.284s + 2.349s 17 18. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.567s + 2.632s 16 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m40.728s + 3.793s 17 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m40.996s + 4.061s 14 21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m41.163s + 4.228s 18 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.513s + 4.578s 14
Friday Team Quotes: Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen – 2nd/1st: “It was a pretty good day. We tried changing a few things on the car and made progress with where we wanted to be at the end of the sessions. We had some running in the wet which you often get around here and the car feels fine. We ran pretty heavy today so I don’t know how we’ll be when everyone is light for qualifying, but I’m happy with where we are and expect we’ll be reasonable tomorrow.”
Romain Grosjean – 10th/6th: “We’re still working on the setup of the car as it’s not quite right for me and it’s difficult to understand why exactly. The new front wing does feel better than the one before so that helps. Kimi was running an updated aero package which looks to be an improvement so we know there’s more pace to come in that area, but there are still things we can do with the current specification once I get everything working for me. It was pretty hot out there – quite a contrast to Melbourne – but I felt comfortable and I’m looking forward to making some improvements tomorrow before we head into qualifying.”
James Allison, Technical Director: “I’m happy with our day’s work. We came here this week seeking reassurance that our car would be equally as competitive in a very different set of conditions to what we saw in Australia, and the early indications are that it looks reasonably useful. The upgrades we’ve trialled today also appear to be working well. Although both drivers ran the new front wing, Romain was at somewhat of a disadvantage in not having the latest exhaust variation and related bodywork on his car, so he can take heart from a healthy position on the time sheets.
“The only slight interruption to proceedings was a compromise to our long run programme once the rain arrived, but this actually proved to be pretty useful in itself as we now have a better understanding of the crossover point for the intermediate tyres. Overall it’s been a very productive day.”
Video: Sky Sports interview
A positive start to the day here in Melbourne as Romain lit up the timing boards to go fastest, just moments before the heavens opened above the Albert Park Circuit. With Kimi also placing solidly inside the top five, it’s all to play for as qualifying looms large…
Romain Grosjean put Lotus on top of the times in final practice for the Australian Grand Prix as the rain hit the Albert Park circuit and Sebastian Vettel hit trouble. Grosjean posted a best time of 1m26.929s right before the heavens opened and that kept the Frenchman ahead of his rivals until the end.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 1m26.929 14 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m27.000s + 0.071s 7 3. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m27.241s + 0.312s 10 4. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m27.533s + 0.604s 9 5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m27.625s + 0.696s 12 6. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.849s + 0.920s 19 7. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.860s + 0.931s 16 8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m28.069s + 1.140s 15 9. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.253s + 1.324s 18 10. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.253s + 1.324s 20 11. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m28.486s + 1.557s 13 12. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m29.808s + 2.879s 9 13. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m30.073s + 3.144s 16 14. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m30.388s + 3.459s 17 15. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m30.598s + 3.669s 20 16. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m30.959s + 4.030s 19 17. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m33.236s + 6.307s 7 18. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m33.527s + 6.598s 8 19. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m39.232s + 12.303s 13 20. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m39.779s + 12.850s 13 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m42.872s + 15.943s 13 22. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m47.246s + 20.317s 9
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
A pair of solid top ten placings and plenty of positives for Kimi during free practice here in Melbourne; the Iceman talks us through his day in the park…
Q: How was your day’s running?
KR: It all worked well. There were no problems and the car seems to be pretty okay so I’m quite happy. If we can keep it like it felt today for the whole weekend I think we could get a good result.
Q: What did you learn from today?
KR: Different things.
Q: Any reliability concerns?
KR: We had more or less one issue in testing and when it happened we lost a lot of time. We’re pretty confident it’s fixed; apart from that the car ran well over the winter and it did today. I don’t expect to have any problems, but you never know.
Q: How did the tyres work for you?
KR: The tyres were much better than in testing but you expect that as it was warmer here; so far they’ve been good. I had some front graining but the rears seemed to hold together pretty well. I thought that they were surprisingly good really.
Q: You were competitive from the off last year; can we expect more of the same this season?
KR: I certainly had a much better Friday here than last year. Everybody looked pretty close together today so we’ll have to see how it goes in the first qualifying of the season tomorrow.
“I think even compared to the last races [of 2012], it feels like we are a bit closer,” said Raikkonen, when asked if he felt Lotus was stronger than 12 months ago.
“We saw Vettel being fast today but all the rest, everybody else, it looks tight and they are close to each other.
“But it is only the first Friday. So let’s see how it goes in the first two races and we will go from there.”
The fact that Vettel’s pace-setting time came after his super soft tyres were past their best points to the German having a significant advantage.
However, Raikkonen does not think that Lotus has shown its best potential just yet either.
“For sure we can improve ourselves also quite a bit,” he explained. “They [Red Bull] were fast on the harder tyres, so you expect that they would have been a bit faster on the super soft. But you never know.
“Some other teams did not improve so much with the super soft. But it is what it is and the race is a different story. It is just the first Friday.”
Solid progress from the morning session saw Kimi and Romain improve to sit side-by-side in P4 / P5 at the Albert Park circuit this afternoon; a positive start as all eyes now turn to tomorrow’s qualifying session
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m25.908 33 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m26.172s + 0.264 31 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m26.322s + 0.414 26 4. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m26.361s + 0.453 37 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 1m26.680s + 0.772 30 6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m26.748s + 0.840 35 7. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m26.772s + 0.864 28 8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m26.855s + 0.947 32 9. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m27.435s + 1.527 34 10. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.187s + 2.279 34 11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m28.294s + 2.386 30 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m28.311s + 2.403 37 13. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m28.566s + 2.658 32 14. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m28.627s + 2.719 31 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.772s + 2.864 33 16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m28.852s + 2.944 36 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m28.968s + 3.060 35 18. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m29.386s + 3.478 38 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m29.696s + 3.788 30 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m30.165s + 4.257 37 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m30.600s + 4.692 34 22. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m32.450s + 6.542 11
Kimi Raikkonen – 6th/4th: “It’s good for the season to start and the car felt pretty strong out there. I don’t think we’re the fastest but it’s a good start. It was nice to have a reliable day after spending some time in the garage during testing. The track was as I remembered it and there were no surprises from it or the car. We’ll have to see what happens tomorrow with qualifying as maybe it will be a bit cooler. I’m happy so far this weekend.”
Romain Grosjean – 10th/5th: “It feels great to be out on circuit and on such a lovely day too. The track felt good and the car felt better. It took a while for the grip to come to us, but you expect that on a street circuit. We made good progress with set-up on the car over both sessions and I think there’s more to come which is promising.”
James Allison, Technical Director: “It’s been a steady start so far. The car has run reliably and reasonably quickly, but we feel there’s more to come from it. Broadly it’s been a successful day in terms of the programme we had in mind for these opening sessions, with both tyre compounds, our latest aero package and a few setup tweaks all given sufficient time for assessment. There’s still work to be done, but we’re certainly running with the leading group which bodes well for the rest of the weekend.”
Blue skies and glorious sunshine bathed the Albert Park circuit this morning as Formula 1 2013 burst into action here in Melbourne. A solid start for Kimi and Romain in P6 / P10; the weekend has only just begun…
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m27.211s 16 2. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m27.289s + 0.078s 17 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m27.547s + 0.336s 16 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m27.552s + 0.341s 18 5. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m27.668s + 0.457s 18 6. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m27.877s + 0.666s 17 7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m28.013s + 0.802s 17 8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m28.426s + 1.215s 19 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m28.440s + 1.229s 19 10. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m28.520s + 1.309s 15 11. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m28.597s + 1.386s 19 12. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.786s + 1.575s 19 13. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m28.910s + 1.699s 18 14. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m29.443s + 2.232s 20 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m29.928s + 2.717s 19 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m30.203s + 2.992s 17 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m30.729s + 3.518s 17 18. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m30.969s + 3.758s 19 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m31.263s + 4.052s 24 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m32.176s + 4.965s 23 21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m32.274s + 5.063s 21 22. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m32.388s + 5.177s 18
Kimi Raikkonen got no useful running at all. His Lotus suffered a Renault engine failure on the second straight as he went onto what would have been his first flying lap 15 minutes into the morning. Lotus will be able to fit a used spare for the race without having to take a penalty for requiring a ninth engine.
- Cooler conditions and overcast skies drew a sharp contrast to yesterday’s running
- Kimi suffered an engine failure early in the session, preventing the Finn from setting a flying lap
- Romain ran both the silver marked hard and white marked medium compound Pirelli tyres, completing race and qualifying simulation runs in addition to setup analysis in keeping with the reduced track temperatures
- The Frenchman’s pace on both rubber compounds looked very promising; a late run on the mediums in particular seeing him break into the top five as the chequered flag fell.
Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05
Fastest Lap: No Time Set
Laps Completed: 3
00mins: Straight out for an install lap on hard tyres
05mins: First run on new hards; setup tweaks to suit the lower temperatures the aim
11mins: Early and rather abrupt end to the session; engine failure on the back straight forces the Finn to park on the outside of T4
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m13.188s 22 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m13.245s + 0.057 21 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m13.385s + 0.197 25 4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m13.389s + 0.201 17 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m13.420s + 0.232 24 6. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m13.486s + 0.298 21 7. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m13.602s + 0.414 22 8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m13.691s + 0.503 15 9. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m13.700s + 0.512 20 10. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m13.712s + 0.524 17 11. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m13.948s + 0.760 20 12. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m14.126s + 0.938 25 13. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m14.190s + 1.002 26 14. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m14.192s + 1.004 21 15. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m14.347s + 1.159 24 16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m14.687s + 1.499 21 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m14.972s + 1.784 19 18. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m15.159s + 1.971 22 19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m15.707s + 2.519 21 20. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m15.763s + 2.575 23 21. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m16.059s + 2.871 21 22. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m16.198s + 3.010 15 23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m16.793s + 3.605 18 24. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault no time 3
A difficult start to the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend for Kimi today, but the Iceman is not about to close off the 2012 season quietly…
Q: Kimi, how was your opening day here in Brazil ?
KR: We had an issue with the ignition coil in the morning and unfortunately it took a while to fix so we lost some track time. When we did get out the car was sliding a lot which made it very tricky so it wasn’t the best start.
Q: What about the afternoon session ?
KR: It was quite normal for us ; not so easy but we tried quite a few different things with the setup and it got better towards the end. We always manage to find something better on Saturday and I’m sure tomorrow will be the same so it’s not a big deal.
Q: You won the World Championship here in 2007 ; does this place have a special meaning to you ?
KR: A Championship is won over the whole year, not just at one race, but for sure I have good memories at this track. It’s always nice to come here as it’s the last race of the season so the atmosphere is really good with all the teams looking forward to a break. Hopefully we can have a good weekend to send the guys off for a well-earned rest.
A productive afternoon in São Paulo saw Kimi and Romain rack up the laps to bring their E20s home in P12 / P9 respectively, with plenty of data now in the team’s arsenal heading into what could be a weekend of typically unpredictable conditions…
- Track temperatures nudging 50 degrees created ideal conditions for a busy session
- During the break the team discovered – and solved – the engine coil issue which had plagued Kimi’s car in FP1
- Both drivers ran the silver marked hard and white marked medium compound Pirelli tyres
- The team assessed high downforce setup options in preparation for the predicted rain over the rest of the weekend
- Yellow flags emerged with 70mins elapsed as the Marussia of Charles Pic stopped out on track
- Practice pit stops wrapped up a productive session for the team
Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05
Fastest Lap: 1:15.371
Laps Completed: 39
03mins: Straight out on hard tyres for an early stint
22mins: Second outing on scrubbed hards; race simulation during a long run
24mins: Runs deep into T1; holds the car well to coax it back on track
45mins: P6 at half distance
65mins: Opening medium shod stint; regains top 10 position
67mins: Reports overheating from both front and rear tyres
90mins: Session ends; P12 for the Finn
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m14.026s 35 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m14.300s + 0.274 40 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m14.523s + 0.497 37 4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m14.553s + 0.527 37 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m14.592s + 0.566 37 6. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m14.654s + 0.628 36 7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m14.669s + 0.643 40 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m14.863s + 0.837 40 9. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m14.994s + 0.968 37 10. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m15.129s + 1.103 39 11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m15.131s + 1.105 40 12. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m15.371s + 1.345 39 13. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m15.432s + 1.406 45 14. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m15.542s + 1.516 35 15. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m15.839s + 1.813 43 16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m15.902s + 1.876 39 17. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m15.953s + 1.927 47 18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m16.048s + 2.022 40 19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m16.126s + 2.100 39 20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m16.655s + 2.629 42 21. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m17.244s + 3.218 15 22. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m17.675s + 3.649 42 23. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m18.127s + 4.101 31 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m18.139s + 4.113 15
Kimi Raikkonen – 16th/12th: “We had a problem in the morning but it’s just one of those things; you don’t want it to happen, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s unfortunate it took a while to fix as we missed time on track. Other than that, it was a very normal Friday for us. It was quite difficult to find a good set-up so we tried quite a few things. Tricky is usually the way for our Friday’s and we’ve always been able to find a better set-up for Saturday so that’s exactly what we’ll try to do for tomorrow.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “We’ve had an encouraging start to the weekend. Although Kimi’s track time in FP1 was restricted, Romain completed some interesting back-to-back comparison runs with Pirelli’s 2013 development tyre which looks to be a few tenths quicker than the current configuration even on this year’s car. Kimi had some catching up to do in the afternoon and struggled initially on the prime tyres, but with a few balance tweaks to accommodate the soaring track temperatures and his engine now running as it should he settled down to put in some decent runs. The track temperature was around ten degrees higher than in the morning – one of the hottest Friday’s we’ve seen all year in fact – and therefore yielded less grip. Despite this however, our long run pace with Romain looked very competitive. We also ran differing setups in anticipation of a potentially dry qualifying, wet race scenario, so there’s a lot of data to look at overnight but overall we’re pretty pleased.”
A mixed start to the weekend here at Interlagos saw Kimi restricted to a handful of laps, while Romain racked up a good haul of tours in the opening practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix. P16 [KR] / P7 [RG] was the result; here’s how it happened…
- A warm, dry and bright start to the weekend under idyllic blue skies in São Paulo
- Both drivers trialled the orange marked, 2013 specification hard compound Pirelli tyres in addition to running the more orthodox silver marked hard rubber
- Kimi had to wait until very late in proceedings to set a flying lap after being confined to the garage for most of the session; the team investigating engine gremlins
- Romain ran a new variation of front drums on his E20; feedback and data to be analysed during the break
- Aero logging and safeguard setup runs in case of a wet qualifying / race scenario were the order of the day
Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05
Fastest Lap: 1:15.701
Laps Completed: 16
00mins: Immediately emerges for an install lap on the 2013 spec hard tyres
24mins: First run of the weekend; remains on the 2013 spec rubber, returns to base without setting a time after reporting unusual engine behaviour
56mins: Returns to the track to investigate engine issues; immediately back to the box with similar feedback to before
75mins: Launches down the pit lane for a final attempt of the morning; engine sounding much healthier, remaining out for a long stint on hard tyres
90mins: Session ends; P16 for the Finn
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m14.131s 33 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m14.140s + 0.009 35 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m14.198s + 0.067 34 4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m14.217s + 0.086 31 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m14.392s + 0.261 28 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m14.716s + 0.585 29 7. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m14.719s + 0.588 33 8. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m14.738s + 0.607 34 9. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m15.015s + 0.884 37 10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m15.050s + 0.919 32 11. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m15.114s + 0.983 36 12. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m15.255s + 1.124 31 13. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m15.396s + 1.265 32 14. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m15.413s + 1.282 23 15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m15.587s + 1.456 35 16. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m15.701s + 1.570 16 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m16.048s + 1.917 35 18. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m16.315s + 2.184 36 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m16.460s + 2.329 32 20. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m16.506s + 2.375 31 21. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m16.617s + 2.486 30 22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m17.234s + 3.103 26 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m17.678s + 3.547 15 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m17.895s + 3.764 13
A rather chilly start to the second day’s action here in Austin saw Kimi and Romain finish the morning in P13 / P17 respectively; the former racking up the laps while mechanical issues confined the latter to the garage for much of the session.
- Another cool, clear start to the day in Austin with track temperature as low as 16 degrees in the early stages
- Both drivers ran with an updated exhaust layout and rear brake drum configuration; each development having been successfully trialled during yesterday’s running
- Kimi tested a new iteration of front wing in the latter stages of proceedings
- A single yellow flag period just after half distance forced the field to slow for a few minutes; the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne coming to a halt through the T3-T7 sequence
- Romain’s session was curtailed after 40mins by a suspected gearbox issue
- Only Felipe Massa completed more laps than Kimi; the Finn conducting a number of useful long runs to gather race simulation readings
Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05
Fastest Lap: 1:37.765
Laps Completed: 26
03mins: Kicks off the morning with a long run on hard rubber; encouraging race simulation pace in the early phases
30mins: P15 at the half way stage
31mins: Back out for a second on-track excursion; racking up the laps with another long stint
52mins: Short blast on medium tyres to wrap things up
60mins: Session ends; P13 for the Finn
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m36.490s 18 2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.748s + 0.258s 20 3. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m37.001s + 0.511s 21 4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.180s + 0.690s 21 5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m37.247s + 0.757s 24 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m37.262s + 0.772s 27 7. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m37.298s + 0.808s 18 8. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m37.415s + 0.925s 20 9. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m37.495s + 1.005s 20 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m37.538s + 1.048s 20 11. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m37.569s + 1.079s 21 12. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m37.760s + 1.270s 21 13. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m37.765s + 1.275s 26 14. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m37.953s + 1.463s 23 15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.547s + 2.057s 23 16. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m38.653s + 2.163s 22 17. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m38.753s + 2.263s 11 18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.689s + 3.199s 12 19. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m40.407s + 3.917s 23 20. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m40.753s + 4.263s 19 21. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m41.011s + 4.521s 19 22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.466s + 4.976s 19 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m43.563s + 7.073s 21 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m44.043s + 7.553s 23
Fresh from the top step in Abu Dhabi, Kimi is on a roll as he prepares to tackle a new challenge here in Austin. Here, the Iceman talks us through his first taste of the Circuit of the Americas.
Q: Talk us through your impressions of the circuit ?
KR: It’s a nice circuit to drive ; the sectors are quite different so there’s a good challenge there. Of course, like with any new track there was no grip at the start of the day which doesn’t give you a very good feeling, but as the grip improves it will be more fun to drive for sure. This morning was very slippery, this afternoon less so but you still can’t really push and it’s a bit tricky to find the limit. There’s a lot of improvement to come – from the track surface and from the setup of the car – so qualifying will be pretty interesting. It’s the same for everyone, and we’ve never been so strong on a Friday as we are over the rest of the weekend, so let’s see if we can improve for tomorrow.
Q: Turns three to seven look particularly challenging…
KR: If there was the same grip level as a normal circuit then they wouldn’t be so unusual. There are very similar corners at Silverstone with Maggots and Becketts but here it’s very slippery and you’re sliding a lot. Normally you can sense the grip a little bit more, but here it’s hard to get the feeling straight away. Yes they are challenging corners, but the lack of grip on the circuit makes it more challenging than normal.
Q: Do you think the only overtaking opportunity will be in the DRS zone ?
KR: I think so. There may possibly be a chance in the first corner, but it really depends on what happens in the race.
Q: How difficult is it to set up the car when the track is so fresh ?
KR: We know our car so it’s not so bad. Yes, we can keep changing things but I would say that 95% of the time we end up with more or less the same setup so it’s more the circuit than the car which needs to evolve, and it will for sure. We will learn it as we go along so we just have to be patient and wait for it to come to us ; I’m sure if the grip improves and our car continues working as it should then it will be ok.
Q: Having driven turn one, how does it feel and what do you think will happen at the start of the race ?
KR: It’s ok really ; we have something similar in India and at most tracks we have corners as tricky as this. We know that the start will be very slippery off the line, but if everyone is smart then we will be fine.
A solid end to the opening day here in Austin saw Kimi and Romain take P11 / P13 respectively during a busy session; a full field of 24 cars frequently out on track as each team sought crucial data heading into qualifying tomorrow.
- Warmer conditions than those seen in the morning session, but still relatively low despite bright sunshine above
- Track evolution slowed in comparison with earlier running, but nonetheless continued at a notable rate
- Both the silver marked hard and white marked medium compound Pirelli tyres were used by each driver
- Race simulation runs capped off proceedings; combinations of long and short runs undertaken as setup options analysed
Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05
Fastest Lap: 1:40.166
Laps Completed: 32
02mins: Opening stint on fresh hard tyres begins
22mins: Practice start at the end of the pit-lane to begin short second run
52mins: First appearance for the medium rubber
58mins: Almost collects KOV through the T5 / T6 / T7 complex
65mins: Scrubbed mediums as the pace begins to build; brief outing this time around
79mins: Emerges for a final on-track blast; another set of new medium tyres to round off the day
90mins: Session ends; P11 for the Finn
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m37.718s 17 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m38.475s + 0.757 36 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m38.483s + 0.765 35 4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.748s + 1.030 31 5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.786s + 1.068 32 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m39.029s + 1.311 33 7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m39.448s + 1.730 32 8. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m39.531s + 1.813 38 9. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m39.653s + 1.935 36 10. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m40.115s + 2.397 30 11. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m40.166s + 2.448 32 12. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m40.230s + 2.512 35 13. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m40.286s + 2.568 32 14. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m40.326s + 2.608 35 15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m40.435s + 2.717 30 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m40.516s + 2.798 32 17. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m40.700s + 2.982 34 18. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m41.430s + 3.712 35 19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m42.476s + 4.758 38 20. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m42.652s + 4.934 33 21. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m42.846s + 5.128 38 22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m43.538s + 5.820 38 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m44.453s + 6.735 16 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m45.114s + 7.396 20
Friday quotes: Kimi convinced Lotus will improve with more grip
KR: “At every race we have been suffering on Friday when it’s not very grippy and then once the grip starts to build up, we get quicker. Probably we don’t have enough downforce yet. Let’s just hope that we can get faster tomorrow.”
“We know our car and we can keep changing it but 95 per cent of the time we end up in the same place. We know that it’s more the circuit and the tyres that are not working well for us. We just have to be patient and wait and I think it will come to us. If we keep changing the car, then we just keep moving the issue.”
Kimi Raikkonen – 14th/11th: “It’s a nice circuit to drive; the sectors are quite different so there’s a good challenge there. Of course, like with any new track there was no grip at the start of the day which doesn’t give you a very good feeling, but as the grip improves it will be more fun to drive for sure. This morning was very slippery, this afternoon less so but you still can’t really push and it’s a bit tricky to find the limit. There’s a lot of improvement to come – from the track surface and from the setup of the car – so qualifying will be pretty interesting.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “Despite being an all-new track, it’s been a fairly normal Friday for us. The morning session delivered the expected low levels of grip with the surface improving hugely later on making any comparison tests very difficult. This meant we concentrated on keeping the cars balanced and spending as much time out on track as we could. FP2 was a mix of setting the cars up and then carrying out high fuel work, however both struggled to get a clear lap on the medium tyres. Neither driver was particularly happy with their set-up so we’ve got a little bit of work to do. Our high fuel pace looks okay, and we’re confident we can deliver more on low fuel tomorrow.”