| Source: lotusf1team.com |
It’s been a tough weekend for the Iceman, who heads into tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix seeking a change in both fortunes and the skies…
Q: How was your qualifying session?
KR: We didn’t have grip in these conditions so we did pretty much all we could do, but if there’s no grip you can’t go faster. In this weather it’s difficult as sometimes the rain gets harder and sometimes the track is drying, so you have to try to be out there when the circuit’s at its best. P9 on the grid is not what we want so we’ll have to see what we can do in the race tomorrow.
Q: Was getting tyre temperature the reason for the struggle for pace?
KR: This kind of weather doesn’t seem to be that good for us. We don’t seem to be able to get the tyres working as well as we should be which makes it very difficult to get a quick lap out of the car.
Q: Do you think there are better prospects for the race?
KR: We’ll have to see how the weather is. Some forecasts say it’s going to be dry, some say that it’s going to be wet. If it’s dry, we’ll have a better opportunity and we’ll see what we can do. If the weather’s like it is today then it’ll be a harder race for us, but you never know what could happen.
Q: How does the car feel in the dry?
KR: It was okay, not too bad. This morning we only had a few laps on the dry tyres and it was better than yesterday for sure. It’s hard to say how it will be with a full fuel load but hopefully we’ll be a bit stronger than the opposition. I’m sure the car will be much better if it’s dry than it was today in the wet.
Q: Any further predictions?
KR: It’s probably not going to be one of our strongest weekends, but we’ll do the best we can.
Canadian Grand Prix qualifying had been red-flagged due to Felipe Massa’s crash at Turn 3, and as the session resumed with less than two minutes to go, all 15 remaining drivers queued at the pit exit.
But several chose to spread out rather than sticking in line, and after the sessions the stewards summoned Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne, Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado over the incident.
Only Raikkonen and Ricciardo were penalised for not starting from the designated ‘fast lane’.
Both will lose two places on the grid, dropping the Lotus and Toro Rosso from ninth and 10th to 11th and 12th.
Raikkonen had been investigated over a similar potential transgression in Q3, but was not given any penalty for that instance.
His team-mate Romain Grosjean, who only qualified 19th, is already carrying a 10-place penalty for crashing into Ricciardo in Monaco.
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 3. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 5. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 7. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 9. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 10. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 12. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 13. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 14. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 16. Felipe Massa Ferrari 17. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 18. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 22. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault
Sebastian Vettel beat Lewis Hamilton to Canadian Grand Prix pole in a wet qualifying session, as Valtteri Bottas starred to put Williams third.
The rain level fluctuated throughout each segment, and in Q3 the best shot at pole came in the opening moments before track conditions deteriorated further.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m25.425s 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m25.512s + 0.087s 3. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m25.897s + 0.472s 4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m26.008s + 0.583s 5. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m26.208s + 0.783s 6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m26.504s + 1.079s 7. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.543s + 1.118s 8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m27.348s + 1.923s 9. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m27.432s + 2.007s 10. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.946s + 2.521s Q2 cut-off time: 1m36.811s Gap ** 11. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m29.435s + 1.786s 12. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m29.761s + 2.112s 13. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m29.917s + 2.268s 14. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m30.068s + 2.419s 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m30.315s + 2.666s 16. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m30.354s + 2.705s Q1 cut-off time: 1m24.776s Gap * 17. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m24.908s + 2.590 18. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m25.626s + 3.308 19. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m25.716s + 3.398 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m26.508s + 4.190 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m27.062s + 4.744 22. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m27.110s + 4.792
Five drivers have been summoned to see the Canadian Grand Prix stewards for not lining up properly at the end of the second qualifying segment in Montreal.
Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen, Toro Rosso duo Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, Williams driver Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez of McLaren have been requested to see the stewards after failing to leave the pitlane in order when all the cars were lined up to go out for the final two minutes of Q2.
Both will lose two places on the grid, dropping the Lotus and Toro Rosso from ninth and 10th to 11th and 12th.
Raikkonen had been investigated over a similar potential transgression in Q3, but was not given any penalty for that instance.
Kimi Raikkonen – 9th: “We didn’t have grip in these conditions so we did pretty much all we could do, but if there’s no grip you can’t go faster. In this weather it’s difficult as sometimes the rain gets harder, sometimes the track is drying so you have to try to be out there when the circuit’s at its best. P9 on the grid is not what we want so we’ll have to see what we can do in the race tomorrow.”
Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director: “It was a disappointing day for us. Romain couldn’t get a good lap in the first session meaning he will start from the back of the grid. Kimi struggled too and will start from ninth, which is not where we want to be. The E21 clearly wasn’t working well in the wet conditions experienced today. We opted for a more dry weather focused set-up which, although it hindered us today, should benefit us tomorrow if the weather does stay dry. We certainly weren’t expecting the level of water that we did see on the track during qualifying.
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
Qualifying done, and P5 on the grid the result for tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix. What’s the battle plan for tomorrow? We ask the Iceman…
Q: How was qualifying for you?
KR: It was difficult because of the weather, but it was the same for all of the drivers. Obviously, it’s never the easiest with the traffic and the barriers and you’d always prefer it to be dry as it’s so slippery when it’s wet. I’m happy we made it through to the top ten and P5 was more or less the best we could do with seven tenths to the next fastest car.
Q: It was a bit close getting through Q1?
KR: Q1 was a bit tricky. We stopped a bit early to change the tyres so they weren’t quite up to temperature when the track was at its driest, but we made it through so no problem there.
Q: What’s the plan for tomorrow from P5?
KR: I’m not sure what we’ll do in the race; we don’t have a clear picture yet as you never know exactly what the strategies from everyone else will be, but for sure we’ll find out tomorrow. I do know that today the car was the best it’s been so far this weekend so I expect it’ll be pretty good in the race.
Q: How can you move forwards up the order when it’s so difficult to pass here?
KR: We’ll have to see what happens. You don’t know what the weather will be like and maybe another team will have issues getting their tyres to work in the race which could help us. Whatever happens, hopefully we can pick up some places and get some more championship points.
Q: Any thoughts on strategy?
KR: We can only see in the race when we know what the conditions are and what speed we have relative to our opposition. Last year there was quite bad tyre degradation in the race here so we could face the same thing again. We’ll know for sure tomorrow.
Nico Rosberg claimed his third Formula 1 pole position in a row in Monaco Grand Prix, as Mercedes fended off Red Bull’s challenge to fill the front row again.
Kimi Raikkonen took fifth for Lotus, while Ferrari had a tough session.
Fernando Alonso could only manage sixth, and his team-mate Felipe Massa did not take part at all as the damage from his practice three crash could not be repaired in time.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m13.876s 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m13.967s + 0.091s 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m13.980s + 0.104s 4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m14.181s + 0.305s 5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m14.822s + 0.946s 6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m14.824s + 0.948s 7. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m15.138s + 1.262s 8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m15.383s + 1.507s 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m15.647s + 1.771s 10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m15.703s + 1.827s Q2 cut-off time: 1m17.748s Gap ** 11. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m18.331s + 2.343s 12. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m18.344s + 2.356s 13. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m18.603s + 2.615s 14. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m19.077s + 3.089s 15. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m19.408s + 3.420s 16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m21.688s + 5.700s Q1 cut-off time: 1m26.095s Gap * 17. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m26.322s + 2.870s 18. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m26.633s + 3.181s 19. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.917s + 3.465s 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m27.303s + 3.851s 21. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 22. Felipe Massa Ferrari
“It was a difficult day today because of the weather, but it was the same for all of the drivers. Obviously, qualifying here is never the easiest with the traffic and the barriers and you’d always prefer it to be dry as it’s so slippery when it’s wet. I’m happy we made it through to the top ten and P5 was more or less the best we could do with seven tenths to the next fastest car. I’m not sure what we’ll do in the race; we don’t have a clear picture yet as you never know exactly what the strategies from everyone else will be, but for sure we’ll find out tomorrow.”
Video: Post-qualy interview with SkySportsF1
Kimi Räikkönen – 5th: “It was a difficult day today because of the weather, but it was the same for all of the drivers. Obviously, qualifying here is never the easiest with the traffic and the barriers and you’d always prefer it to be dry as it’s so slippery when it’s wet. I’m happy we made it through to the top ten and P5 was more or less the best we could do with seven tenths to the next fastest car. I’m not sure what we’ll do in the race; we don’t have a clear picture yet as you never know exactly what the strategies from everyone else will be, but for sure we’ll find out tomorrow.”
Romain Grosjean – 13th: “The team did an unbelievable job to get the car ready for me after what happened in P3 this morning; I’m extremely grateful to all of them. I really owe them today and I think that’s more drinks I will have to buy at the end of the weekend. We had the car to do something very good in qualifying, but I caught Daniel [Ricciardo] in Q2 when the track was getting drier and faster. I had just two laps on the slicks and we weren’t able to get through to the top ten which is really frustrating. What can you say? This is Monaco. We have seen different weather conditions and it is a unique circuit. We will see what happens in the race tomorrow.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “It was a disappointing session for us. Firstly we need to say a big thank you to Romain’s crew for getting his car ready for qualifying in lightening quick time, and they were rewarded by a lightening quick first lap from their man. Unfortunately, traffic at the end of Q2 prevented him from getting into the top ten which was a great shame. Kimi has a reasonable position with P5 on the grid, but moving forwards up the order at Monaco is exceptionally difficult so any gains tomorrow will be hard won.
“Our car worked well in all conditions today so the weather wasn’t so much of a problem, we just had to ensure we had the correct tyres on at the right time. Finding clear track here is always difficult, no matter what the weather, and that’s what we saw with Romain today. It was an incredibly impressive lap. To go out in variable conditions with the pressure of only having a few minutes of the session remaining, and still manage to go P1 on your first lap is really quite an achievement.”
“Monaco is a very different circuit from any other, with the short lap length and traffic considerations meaning that there are not many viable options for different strategies. Add that to a dry weather forecast for tomorrow – plus the fact that it’s almost impossible to pass here – and we have a very difficult race in prospect. We will of course look at all possibilities and do what we can to get our cars to the front. It’s a very long race and we have seen fortunes change on a Sunday quite often thus far in 2013, so anything’s possible.”
| Source: formula1.com |
Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen has been there or thereabouts at the top of the timesheets all weekend in Barcelona, but he ended qualifying on the second row of the grid in fourth position. After climbing out of the car the Finn spoke to reporters about his performance in qualifying and his prospects for the race tomorrow…
Q: Kimi, you’ll start from P4 tomorrow – one of your best qualifying result so far this season. What do you make of that?
Kimi Raikkonen: Well, I have to make a good start and then I take it from there. What else do you expect I do? Mercedes have not been as strong in the races as they have been in qualifying so everything seems possible.
Q: After the morning session had you hoped for a spot on the first row of the grid?
KR: It’s been pretty good all weekend long, but unfortunately during qualifying it was a bit more windy than it was in the morning session and that made it a bit more tricky in Sector 3. For sure we didn’t have the speed of Mercedes, but we have seen that before so I am open for anything in the race.
Q: Did you have had any idea before qualifying where you would fit in?
KR: After I made it into Q3 it could have been P1 or P10. Everything is pretty tight, so I am satisfied where I am as it was the best qualifying result in quite a while.
Q: A penalty points system for drivers has been spoken about recently. Sebastian Vettel clearly said in the FIA press conference that he is not in favour of it. What is your opinion?
KR: Why should I make a comment over something that is not finalized yet? Nothing has been decided and I am sure there will be changes made to the proposal. We always had penalties when a driver did something wrong – now they are looking at a new catalogue for handling misbehaviour. The best way to avoid being confronted with any penalties? Do nothing wrong, don’t break the rules – then you’re fine!
Q: Do you expect Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso will be in close combat tomorrow? Alonso sure wants to put on a show in front of his home crowd…
KR: How would I know what’s on Alonso’s agenda! Go and ask him.
Q: Do you think that you can do one stop less than the others or will it be an equal playing field?
KR: We will sit down and discuss our strategy this evening. And you would have to tie me to a stake to get a word out of me! All I can say is that we will see a very interesting race tomorrow and that is what fans want to see.
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
On previous form, P4 on the grid for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix should bode well for our Finnish maestro; but what does the man himself think?
Q: Did qualifying live up to your expectations?
KR: It was not too bad; better than last race for sure. It’s very close here and we could have been P1 or P10 in that final session, so P4 is not too bad. Of course, unless you’re on pole you want to be further up the order, but tomorrow’s when really matters.
Q: How’s the car feeling?
KR: It’s been pretty okay over the weekend. Today in qualifying was a bit more windy than we saw this morning, which made the final sector a little more tricky. We didn’t have the pace get on the front row, but we should have a pretty good car in the race.
Q: What do you expect from tyre strategy?
KR: I don’t know what the others are doing but we’re still working out what our plan will be. A lot depends on how the tyres are working in the race and that’s part of the job for the guys on the pit wall tomorrow. I don’t expect that we’ll do anything massively different from anyone else; maybe we’ll stop at a different time, maybe we’ll stop at the same time, who knows…
Q: What are your chances in the race starting from P4?
KR: You can’t really say on Saturday what will happen; you just have to make a good start and then see what you can do. We’ve got two fast Mercedes ahead of us and we’ll have to see how strong they are over a full distance. I’m sure the Ferrari and Red Bull will be competitive, so like any race we’ll just do our best and see where we end up.
Video: NBCSports on Kimi
A solid qualifying session for Kimi and Romain at the Circuit de Catalunya saw them take P4 / P7 ahead of tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix. Here’s how it happened…
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m20.718s 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m20.972s + 0.254s 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m21.054s + 0.336s 4. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m21.177s + 0.459s 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m21.218s + 0.500s 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m21.219s + 0.501s 7. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m21.308s + 0.590s 8. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m21.570s + 0.852s 9. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m22.069s + 1.351s 10. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m22.233s + 1.515s Q2 cut-off time: 1m22.019s Gap ** 11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m22.127s + 1.126s 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m22.166s + 1.165s 13. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m22.346s + 1.345s 14. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m23.166s + 2.165s 15. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m22.389s + 1.388s 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m22.793s + 1.792s Q1 cut-off time: 1m23.218s Gap * 17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m23.260s + 1.532s 18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m23.318s + 1.590s 19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m24.661s + 2.933s 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m24.713s + 2.985s 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m24.996s + 3.268s 22. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m25.070s + 3.342s
Saturday News & Quotes:
“I think it is going to be normal chances. We have to make a good start and then try to make the best laps. Mercedes is consistently not as strong in the races as they are in qualifying, so we’ll do our best and see where we end up. It has been pretty OK all weekend. For sure we didn’t have the speed of Mercedes, but we have seen that in the last few races they are very strong in qualifying so we did pretty okay. It is very close between the cars here, and you really have to make the best out of it. I think it is pretty OK. We are a bit better than we were in the last race. I don’t know what the others are doing and don’t know our plan yet. We see what we are going to do, and how it is at the beginning of the race. I don’t think we can do less stops than the others.”
“That was more or less all we could do today. I didn’t make any mistakes on my fastest lap so that was pretty much all there was to come from the car. I wouldn’t say it was a perfect lap, but I don’t think we would have been much higher up the order if it had been. The Mercedes, as we’ve seen before, seems to be pretty fast in qualifying but hopefully in the race we can turn it around. Our race pace has been pretty good all year so let’s try and get on the podium. I’ll have to make a good start, then let’s see what happens.”
Kimi Raikkonen – 4th: “That was more or less all we could do today. I didn’t make any mistakes on my fastest lap so that was pretty much all there was to come from the car. I wouldn’t say it was a perfect lap, but I don’t think we would have been much higher up the order if it had been. The Mercedes, as we’ve seen before, seems to be pretty fast in qualifying but hopefully in the race we can turn it around. Our race pace has been pretty good all year so let’s try and get on the podium. I’ll have to make a good start, then let’s see what happens.”
Romain Grosjean – sixth: “We did a good job today throughout qualifying but on my last lap I made a mistake into turn one, so I decided to back off and save the tyres. Otherwise, I think we could have done a bit better and maybe sit one or two rows further towards the front. I was happy with the car and all the work we’ve done since Friday. For tomorrow, we will see what happens as the competition is very tight. As we have seen, conditions are variable this weekend and once more the tyres should be key.”
Alan Permane, trackside operations director: “We’re pretty happy with today’s performance. We made some changes from yesterday then had a productive morning validating them on track. It was a reasonably straight-forward qualifying session with both cars saving two sets of the medium tyres for Q3 and no real dramas to speak of. Unfortunately Romain had a lock-up on his last lap, otherwise he would have been right on Kimi’s pace, but to have the slower of our two cars starting from P6 certainly isn’t a cause for concern.”
“Looking at race strategy, does the new hard compound or allocation of the hard and medium present any issues? It doesn’t cause us any problems. The new hard compound seems better suited to this track than the previous version, certainly with the temperatures we’ve experienced here. It works well for us. The allocation of the hard and medium compounds is not a life changing scenario either.”
“P4 and P6 starting positions are pretty decent for us when you consider the race pace and tyre management we’ve been able to show so far this season. There’s certainly the potential to have a very good race tomorrow.”
@F1PitRadio Kimi, “The Sauber blocked me completely…was a stupid move” @KimiFanPage David Coulthard: “Kimi is clearly a very naturally gifted racer.” @adamcooperf1 Kimi Raikkonen: “I think we did more or less our maximum. You always can improve in some places, but it’s hard to get it right always.”
Video: Q3 Lap onboard
| Source: formula1.com |
He’s already won one race this season, lies second in the drivers’ table and – according to Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso – is currently driving better than anyone else on the grid. But what does Kimi Raikkonen make of the start to his second year with Lotus? We caught up with the straight-talking Finn – eighth on the grid for Sunday’s Bahrain race – to get his take on his 2013 campaign to date…
Q: You seem to be the ‘all-weather’ man this year: whatever the conditions, whatever the tyres, in the end a podium is almost certain. Are you the ideal driver right now?
Kimi Raikkonen: Ha, I wish I was. Clearly you have to look at the conditions and cope with them – even though our car is not the best right now, we are able to adapt to situations pretty well. And, of course, I am always trying my best to deliver a good result.
Q: It looks like you are almost unaffected by whatever is going on around you. You may not always have the best qualifying – just like today – but most pundits have you on their shortlist of potential winners for the race…
KR: Ah, look back at Malaysia. There I had some issues with the car, so no race is a walk in the park for me as you suggest. (laughs) That’s how it goes. But for sure I always try to maximize the yield of points.
Q: There were high expectations today that you would go out in the last two minutes of qualifying and show everybody the way. But you ended up in P9 – and will start from P8 due to Lewis Hamilton’s gearbox penalty. Was there no more to come?
KR: No, we haven’t got the speed for one lap. Hopefully the race will show a different picture.
Q: Is that what your team principal Eric Boullier calls your finishing qualities?
KR: Could be. One lap is one thing, but to do 57 laps and stay at the top of your game is quite another.
Q: That must make you a much sought-after man. There has been talk that Red Bull could imagine you joining them next year…
KR: I have no contract for next year – that much is true. But further than that, I don’t want to discuss the matter. I want to do well this season and everything else will fall into place.
Q: What would convince you to stay at Lotus? What would make you move on? And do you want to stay in F1 racing in the first place?
KR: I haven’t thought about all that yet – I feel good here. But yes, there are many things that are undecided and there is still a long way to go this season, so let’s see how things unfold. We will see pretty significant changes when teams switch to their 2014 car development – and then it will be interesting to see what is going on.
Q: Would you be a better team mate for Sebastian Vettel than Mark Webber? Could it be that friendship is overrated in this matter?
KR: I don’t know. These are not the things that I think about right now.
Q: Would you like to have a more challenging team mate? Or is there something in being the de facto number-one driver?
KR: Look, sometimes he (Romain Grosjean) has a difficult weekend and sometimes I do. In the end it does not matter for me as I don’t really need somebody who is pushing me. I do my own thing.
Q: You were a surprising third in last year’s championship. Now you are an arguably even more surprising second in the standings. Are you surprised yourself – or is this in line with your personal expectations?
KR: Sure, it’s interesting to beat your own benchmark. The only plan I have in my head regarding that is doing better – as to how much better, let’s see. I am pretty relaxed about all these self-appointed point counters and soothsayers. Just let’s wait and see.
Q: Money makes the world go round and that includes development and development speed. Could that correlation make you nervous this season?
KR: True, we have less money than some of the other teams, but I am not sure if that will really hurt us or not. Last year we were able to do pretty well, so why not this again season?
Q: Malaysia was a bit of a drop in form for you. Why did it happen there and could it be symptomatic of conditions like that – ie higher temperatures compared those in Melbourne and Shanghai?
KR: Nothing to do with conditions. We had some issues with the car, that’s all. Conditions are overrated.
Q: What’s the best part of your car?
KR: I would say that we are more or less okay everywhere. We don’t have really bad points anywhere, but also not really good points. The car works okay.
Q: So let’s try this: what’s the best part of your life right now?
KR: I have a lot good things to do and I don’t complain. My life is okay.
Q: Can you comprehend all the lamenting about the tyres? You seem to be pretty unimpressed…
KR: We cannot change them right now so you better get used to it. Lamenting over things never helps.
Q: Last year here you were on the podium. What is likelihood of a repeat tomorrow?
KR: We are lacking a bit of pace, but in a long race with strategy involved anything can happen. Sure the starting position is not ideal.
Q: Strategy will again play a major role. Will we see daredevils trying to run a two stopper, or will three stops be the way to go?
KR: I think three stops will do it.
Q: So you will be running on three stops?
KR: I don’t know yet…
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
Promoted to eighth on tomorrow’s grid after a penalty for Lewis Hamilton, Kimi talks us through a difficult qualifying session and outlines his hopes for tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix
Q: Qualifying didn’t seem to run too smoothly today; give us your perspective
KR: It wasn’t the easiest qualifying session after a weekend which hasn’t been the easiest so far either. Yesterday it was difficult at times to find the balance with the car and I found the same thing today. My lap wasn’t great so maybe we could have been a few places higher, but it is what it is; sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn’t.
Q: You’ve been on the pace throughout the weekend so far…
KR: You can’t really tell from practice where you’ll be, so although we didn’t do too bad yesterday it doesn’t mean anything. This morning the car felt good and again our pace looked ok, but we didn’t quite get it right this afternoon. Hopefully we’ll find some improvement in the car for tomorrow.
Q: What are your thoughts heading into the race?
KR: We’ll try to do our best like always and see where we end up. We weren’t fast enough today but it’s a long race, our long runs seem to be pretty ok and we usually we do better on Sundays anyway so anything can happen.
Having shone for much of the weekend so far, Kimi and Romain find themselves occupying the fringes of the top ten on tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix grid.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m32.330s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m32.584s + 0.254s 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m32.667s + 0.337s 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m32.762s + 0.432s 5. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m33.078s + 0.748s 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m33.207s + 0.877s 7. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m33.235s + 0.905s 8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m33.246s + 0.916s 9. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m33.327s + 0.997s 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes Q2 cut-off time: 1m33.702s Gap ** 11. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m33.762s + 1.016s 12. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m33.914s + 1.168s 13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m33.974s + 1.228s 14. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m33.976s + 1.230s 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m34.105s + 1.359s 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m34.284s + 1.538s Q1 cut-off time: 1m34.425s Gap * 17. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m34.425s + 1.547s 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m34.730s + 1.852s 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m35.283s + 2.405s 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m36.178s + 3.300s 21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m36.304s + 3.426s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m36.476s + 3.598s
News & Quotes:
“We were not fast enough. This was our maximum. Maybe we could’ve been a few places better, but like I said yesterday, it didn’t feel exactly like we want. It’s just one of the places where we don’t seem to have the speed. Hopefully tomorrow it will turn out different. We need more grip. We know we’re probably missing a bit of downforce compared to the top guys. Every day is different. Whatever happened last year is not going to help us tomorrow. We had an OK long run yesterday so hopefully it will work better. I cannot tell you where we’re going to finish. That would be stupid. We can only do our best and hopefully that will be a better result than today. I hope that our tyres can last in better shape than some of the others.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “It wasn’t the easiest qualifying session after a weekend which hasn’t been the easiest so far either. Yesterday it was difficult at times to find the balance with the car and I found that again today. This morning it felt good and we didn’t do too bad in free practice, but we didn’t quite get it right this afternoon. My lap wasn’t great, but it’s a long race so we’ll just have to see what we can do tomorrow.”
Romain Grosjean (11th): “It’s obviously disappointing to miss out on Q3 but it’s just one of those things. There weren’t any issues with the car, we just tried to be a little too brave by doing just one run and unfortunately it didn’t pay off. On the positive side, we’ve found a lot of performance this weekend compared to the first three races and our pace on the prime tyres in Q1 looked very strong. We qualified in similar positions last year and came away with a double podium, so it’s still all to play for.”
Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director: “We’re obviously disappointed with the qualifying result. We just missed the cut for Q3 with Romain who had been looking strong, but unfortunately the track evolution caught us out a little bit and he made a couple of small errors on his only lap in Q2. If this hadn’t been the case, we’re sure he would have made it through. Kimi’s session was a bit more of a mystery. His second run in Q2 was pretty respectable but it just didn’t come together for him in Q3. He’s been strong all weekend up until that point, so we’ll need to trawl through the data this evening to understand what happened. Romain has plenty of new tyres to work with and starting on fresh rubber should give him a good boost at the start and through the first stint. We can decide which compound he will start on so we’ll be crunching the numbers to work out the optimum strategy. Romain has plenty of new tyres to work with and starting on fresh rubber should give him a good boost at the start and through the first stint. We can decide which compound he will start on so we’ll be crunching the numbers to work out the optimum strategy. We were very happy with our long run pace yesterday, with both cars showing decent pace and manageable tyre degradation levels. It’s a tough race on tyres which tends to work to our advantage and we managed a great result from a very similar situation this time last year, so we’re certainly not out of it yet.”
He may have clinched his best qualifying result since the 2009 Monaco Grand Prix, but when your name is Kimi Räikkönen only the best will do…
Q: Clear skies above and a clear track ahead; you must be pleased with the result today?
KR: This is my best qualifying for the team which is good, but of course you always want to be on pole. I don’t think it was better than expected; the car hasn’t changed much from the first two races, but then the weather meant we didn’t get the most from it. For sure there are still a few things we can improve, but the speed is there.
Q: How is the car feeling?
KR: It’s been quite a tricky weekend so far and we’ve had a few small issues with setup, but it’s always difficult to get things exactly how you want them and the car has worked well when it matters. I’ve sometimes been happy with the car and sometimes not so much; in the end we ran with a similar setup to the one that worked best in Malaysia. It felt good in qualifying so hopefully it will be the same tomorrow.
Q: Looking back on qualifying, there seem to be a mix of strategies across the grid; are you confident the team has picked the right one?
KR: We’ll be running through the strategy tonight to see what will be the best plan. The tyres will of course be the question mark. A lot of people are complaining about them but I don’t think they’ve changed so much from last year and it’s the same for everybody. Some people are starting on the primes but I don’t really care what the others do; we chose the strategy we think will work best. Hopefully we can keep managing the degradation well like we have so far this season and have a good race tomorrow.
Q: Do you think victory is within reach tomorrow?
KR: We’re starting from a good position, but is it going to be enough to push for first place tomorrow? It’s difficult to say. This year it seems things can change from one day to the next. Sometimes it can go your way and sometimes it doesn’t, so we just have to do our best tomorrow and hopefully we’ll have the speed to challenge for the win.
Kimi, you held pole briefly but you were just pipped by Lewis.
KR: I think the gap is quite big still and we don’t have that speed right now. So, second is not bad, I think it’s the best that I’ve been with the team ever. Not too bad, but of course you’d rather be in first place but I guess we don’t have the speed. I think we are missing downforce in the middle sector a bit, but we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.
Q: Kimi, updates on the car – how much have they worked?
KR: Erm… We have very small update. The car, I would say, is almost the same as it was in the last races, or the last race. It seems to be working OK. We have some issues with some stuff but bit similar story than in Malaysia but we choose to take than chance now and we know that car works the way how we want to run it but it’s not easy to keep it on that order or in that setup all the time. It’s been a pretty tricky weekend to get things exactly right. It’s very sensitive but we’re happy to be where we are now so hopefully it helps us in the race a bit.
Q: You said yesterday the car wasn’t quite so good on the mediums: good on the soft but not quite so good on the mediums. Is it better now?
KR: I don’t know really. We only used the soft once in qualifying and the car wasn’t the same this morning as it is now so it’s a bit of a question mark because the things that I’ve just told, that we have to play around a bit with the car. I think it should be… went pretty OK yesterday so should be OK. I don’t know if it’s good enough to fight for a win but at least today we put ourselves in a pretty OK position.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Two drivers out of the top ten start with a different strategy tomorrow, they start on the harder tyre. Is that a concern for you, did you think about the same strategy? And why didn’t you do it?
LH: I’ve got really great strategists, I just trust them, if they make a decision we still stick by it. I think everyone, no matter what strategy you’re on, everyone’s going to struggle on the option tyre, whether it’s high or low fuel.
KR: Obviously we believe that our choice is the best, that’s why we do it. If we would have thought that starting with primes and qualifying with the primes would have been the better choice we probably would have done it.
Q: (Luis Fernando Ramos – Racing Magazine) To all of you: we have a kind of racing now which is all about managing and controlling your pace, whereas if you go back to 2008 with different aerodynamics and refuelling, it was a sprint all the time. Which type of racing was more challenging and which type of racing did you enjoy more?
LH: It’s quite easy: it’s more challenging now with the tyres that we have. For sure it’s much tougher for all of us, but it was definitely more enjoyable previously, I would say.
KR: It is what it is, really. We have to get our best out of it. Years go by and rules change. It’s not easy to get things right, last year and this year, but it’s the same for everybody and it makes a big challenge but it’s also part of F1.
Q: Which did you enjoy more?
KR: It makes no difference, because this is what we have and you’d better like it or do something else.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) Kimi, considering the history of your car, which is able to look after the tyres, do you think that a better first run than your competitors will help you significantly during the race?
KR: Like I said a little bit earlier, it’s a big question mark because we were pretty happy yesterday but the car is not exactly the same as it was then. For sure, we had some issues with the front tyres yesterday but that should be pretty easy to change. Every day seems to be a bit different, so I don’t know if it’s going to be OK or not. Usually we’ve been pretty OK, apart from the last race when we had some issues. Hopefully it turns out to be good tomorrow but I think it will be very close and whoever gets things exactly right might make enough of a difference to win.
Lewis Hamilton claimed his first pole position with Mercedes in a Chinese Grand Prix qualifying session dominated by tyre strategy.
Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus will join Hamilton on the front row ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari.
KR: The gap is quite big still… Not to bad, you rather be in the first place… but we’ll see what we can do…
Lewis: “Making the option tyres last is almost impossible, except for this guy on the right [Kimi]“
Alonso: “I’m definitely expecting an interesting race in which the biggest threat could come from Raikkonen as the Lotus has shown it manages its tyres well.”
Drivers asked about 2013 racing: Kimi: “It makes no difference, because this is what we have and you’d better like it or do something else”
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m34.484s 2. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m34.761s + 0.277 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m34.788s + 0.304 4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m34.861s + 0.377 5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m34.933s + 0.449 6. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m35.364s + 0.880 7. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m35.998s + 1.514 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2m05.673s + 31.189 9. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault no time 10. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari no time Q2 cut-off time: 1m36.261s Gap ** 11. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m36.287s + 1.209s 12. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.314s + 1.236s 13. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m36.405s + 1.327s 14. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m36.679s + 1.601s 15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m37.139s + 2.061s 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m37.199s + 2.121s Q1 cut-off time: 1m37.508s Gap * 17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m37.769s + 1.976 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m37.990s + 2.197 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m38.780s + 2.987 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m39.537s + 3.744 21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m39.614s + 3.821 22. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m39.660s + 3.867
News & Quotes: Raikkonen downplays Lotus’s pace
“I knew the gap was quite big still and we don’t have that speed right now. Second is not too bad, it is the best I can gain with the team. I’d rather be in first place, but we didn’t have the speed.
“We’re missing downforce in the middle sector so we will see what we can do tomorrow. We had a very small update, I would say it is the same as in the last race.”
“It seems to be working OK. We have some issues with some stuff, but it’s a similar story to Malaysia. The car works the way I want it to. It has been a pretty tricky weekend to get things exactly right, it’s very sensitive, but we are happy to be where we are now. We believe our strategy is the best one, that is why we did it,” he said. “If qualifying was better on primes, then you would do it.”
Kimi Räikkönen – 2nd: “This is my best qualifying for the team which is good, but of course you always want to be on pole. It’s been quite a tricky weekend so far and we’ve had a few small issues with setup, but it’s always difficult to get things exactly how you want them and the car seems to be working well now. The tyres will of course be the question mark tomorrow; some people are starting on the primes but we chose the strategy we think will work best. Hopefully we can keep managing the degradation well like we have so far this season and have a good race tomorrow.”
Romain Grosjean – 6th: “Friday was difficult and we missed some time on Saturday morning so it’s been a challenging weekend, but I’m finally back in business. We’ve been chasing some small problems here and there, but the engineers have been working hard and did a fantastic job to get the car to where it is now. My first lap on options in Q1 was actually my first of the weekend with those tyres so we had to guess a little on the set up, but I think we did pretty well. Of course you always want to do better, but overall I’m pleased. The car was much better this afternoon so let’s see what we can do in the race.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “We’re obviously very happy with the result today. Kimi has been comfortable with his car pretty much all weekend; not so much this morning when a small set up change was made, but that was reversed and he was back where we wanted to be. Romain had a difficult morning but with no real issues; just circumstantial problems which put things on hold briefly. He went into qualifying with a car that was unchanged from this morning, so bearing in mind his earlier tribulations he did a great job to take P6.
“We’ve done all our race preparation and run work so we know where we are in terms of both the soft and the medium compound tyres; we’re pretty confident on strategy and looking forward to running a very strong race. From second and sixth anything is possible; we will certainly be pushing to get both drivers on the podium with one of them on the top step.”
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
Hampered by the rain and demoted by a penalty, it seems Kimi’s luck was out today in Malaysia. But, if anyone who knows how to mount a comeback, it’s the Iceman…
Q: How was qualifying for you?
KR: The car felt okay in the dry but then it started to rain which wasn’t what we wanted. We seem to lack grip on the intermediate tyres and they were what we used for the final session so it wasn’t possible to go any faster. We wanted more from today but tomorrow is what counts.
Q: What is it about the wet weather performance that hasn’t quite clicked yet?
KR: We still have similar issues to those we experienced last year in the wet and it’s to do with getting the tyres working correctly. The team are working on a solution, but we don’t have it where we want it yet so we weren’t as quick when it rained as we were in the dry. When it gets wet it gets more fun, just not so fast….
Q: There’s more rain forecast for the race tomorrow…
KR: We’ll see how the weather is and take it from there. If it’s mixed up then we have to try to make the right decisions at the right time. It’s the same for everybody.
Q: You’ll be starting tenth after a meeting with the stewards; what do you think is possible from there?
KR: It’s a shame to lose the three places but it is what it is. You never know what will happen in the race – especially here – so we’ll do our best and let’s hope we have the speed to get on the podium.
Sebastian Vettel took pole position by nearly a second on a drying track in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix. With the circuit improving moment by moment in the final part of Q3, Vettel made great use of a fresh set of intermediates to lap in 1m49.674s for Red Bull.
Kimi Raikkonen has been given a three-place grid penalty for impeding Nico Rosberg in Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying.
The Australian GP winner had been seventh fastest in the rain-affected Sepang qualifying session.
But his Lotus will now start 10th after he was adjudged to have blocking Rosberg’s Mercedes at Turn 14.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m49.674s 2. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m50.587s + 0.913s 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m50.727s + 1.053s 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m51.699s + 2.025s 5. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m52.244s + 2.570s 6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m52.519s + 2.845s 7. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m52.970s + 3.296s 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m53.175s + 3.501s 9. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m53.439s + 3.765s 10. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m54.136s + 4.462s Q2 cut-off time: 1m37.342s Gap ** 11. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m37.636s + 1.446s 12. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.125s + 1.935s 13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.822s + 2.632s 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m39.221s + 3.031s 15. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m44.509s + 8.319s 16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault no time Q1 cut-off time: 1m37.931s Gap * 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.157s + 1.348s 18. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m38.207s + 1.398s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m38.434s + 1.625s 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m39.314s + 2.505s 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m39.672s + 2.863s 22. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m39.932s + 3.123s
Kimi Raikkonen – 7th: “We weren’t quick enough on the intermediates so I don’t think we could have found much more time in the wet today. For sure I wanted more but it is what it is and I hope we’ll do better on Sunday. It’s obviously disappointing to lose three places on the grid, but we’ll have to see what happens in the race. I have no idea what the weather will do, but it will be the same for everyone.”
Romain Grosjean – 11th: “The car felt better today for sure and we were looking good after free practice earlier this afternoon. We should have easily had both cars in the top ten, but unfortunately the skies opened at just the wrong time for me. My first run in Q2 was on scrubbed tyres and then as soon as we came in to fit the new ones it started raining, so for now they stay new. It’s a shame but there’s a long race ahead of us tomorrow and we now have extra sets of fresh dry tyres in our pocket so hopefully we can use them well.”
Sebastian Vettel made the most of a drying track to beat Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber to pole for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Row four will be filled by the Lotus pair, Kimi Raikkonen ahead of Romain Grosjean.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m27.407s 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m27.827s + 0.420s 3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m28.087s + 0.680s 4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m28.490s + 1.083s 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m28.493s + 1.086s 6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m28.523s + 1.116s 7. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m28.738s + 1.331s 8. Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 1m29.013s + 1.606s 9. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m29.305s + 1.898s 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m30.357s + 2.950s Q2 cut-off time: 1m37.641s Gap ** 11. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.067s + 1.873s 12. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m38.134s + 1.940s 13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m38.778s + 2.584s 14. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.042s + 2.848s 15. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m39.900s + 3.706s 16. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m40.290s + 4.096s 17. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m37.593s + 2.024s Q1 cut-off time: 1m47.330s Gap * 17. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m47.614s + 4.234s 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m47.776s + 4.396s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m48.147s + 4.767s 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m48.909s + 5.529s 21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m49.519s + 6.139s 22. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m50.626s + 7.246s
Kimi Raikkonen – 7th: “It was an OK qualifying session. We had just one lap on the dry tyres and I got a bit sideways at the end on a damp patch which meant I lost some time so that was a bit disappointing. The car seems to be working well. It had the speed, but when you have only one lap on dry tyres on a damp circuit setting a fast lap is not the easiest thing to do. The weather seems to be changing very quickly, but we’ve seen that before in Melbourne. It’s the same for everybody and it will be in the race too.”
Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix will be postponed until 11am local time on Sunday morning due to heavy rain showers in Melbourne.
A delayed Q1 managed to take place, but the start of Q2 was repeatedly put back due to the weather conditions. The decision to postpone the rest of the session was finally taken nearly two hours after qualifying had begun.
The situation was complicated by further showers being forecast, so that even if the track improved, the likelihood was that the rain would immediately return. Looming sunset added a further pressure, with little daylight left to fit in Q2 and Q3.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m43.380s 2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m43.850s + 0.470s 3. Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 1m44.284s + 0.904s 4. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m44.300s + 0.920s 5. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m44.472s + 1.092s 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m44.635s + 1.255s 7. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m44.657s + 1.277s 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m44.688s + 1.308s 9. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m44.871s + 1.491s 10. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m45.456s + 2.076s 11. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m45.545s + 2.165s 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m45.601s + 2.221s 13. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m45.930s + 2.550s 14. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m46.450s + 3.070s 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m47.328s + 3.948s 16. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m47.330s + 3.950s 17. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m47.614s + 4.234s 18. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m47.776s + 4.396s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m48.147s + 4.767s 20. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m48.909s + 5.529s 21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m49.519s + 6.139s 22. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m50.626s + 7.246s
Raikkonen disappointed to miss out on lie-in
The inclement conditions have caused all manner of inconvenience here in Melbourne; a delay to qualifying, cancelled media sessions, endless track sweeping… for Kimi however, there have been far more pressing repercussions…
Q: How was the interrupted qualifying session today?
KR: It wasn’t easy with the traffic, people going off and the yellow flags but we went through to the second qualifying session tomorrow so it’s not all bad.
Q: You’ve now sampled the E21 in the wet; was it to your liking?
KR: The car doesn’t feel too bad in the wet – it’s an improvement on where we were last year for sure – but today the challenge was finding some clear space on track so we didn’t get to really push.
Q: Does finishing qualifying then having the race on the same day make anything different for you?
KR: The session being delayed until tomorrow was a shame but it’s the same for everyone. It’s just normal once it starts and hopefully we get through to Q3. I’d prefer to be having a lie-in tomorrow morning as it’s a late race, but you have to qualify and being out in the car will soon wake me up.
After missing most of FP1 yesterday, Kimi had another hand tied behind his back after an FP3 engine failure this morning robbed him of track time. No matter, the Iceman took to Interlagos with aplomb and – with a penalty for Pastor Maldonado promoting the Finn up one spot – P8 tomorrow will be his starting position
Q: How did qualifying go for you?
KR: It certainly could have been worse! We didn’t have much running because of the engine blow in the morning. In yesterday’s first practice too we didn’t get out on track much, so with both of these things the car was pretty far from where we’d want it to be heading into qualifying. In that respect we were guessing a bit with set-up, simply because the lack of laps to work on things and P8 is the result.
Q: How much more was possible from the car?
KR: We know there’s more speed in the car and I’m sure we’ll be able to show that tomorrow. We certainly could have qualified better with more time as we were still making big improvements.
Q: How difficult were conditions when you went out on the damp track at the start of qualifying?
KR: It was tricky as it was a damp but drying track and we went out on the slicks without doing any laps on the intermediates. There were a few places that were a bit more slippery than others, like coming on to the straight where it was difficult to apply the power. That said, we made it round okay.
Q: There’s forecast for potential rain tomorrow; could that help you in the race?
KR: We cannot change the weather and it’ll be the same for everybody; it is what it is and we’ll try to do the best for the team and the fans. The car has felt good in many different weather conditions this year so I’m sure it will be the same tomorrow.
Q: Any worries with the engine?
KR: Well it’s the one I used in Austin and in Abu Dhabi. It helped me win the race in Abu Dhabi so it can’t be too bad! I think what happened to my engine today was just one of those things; I’m not worried heading into tomorrow’s race.
Mixed conditions, an on-track incident for Romain and lack of track time for Kimi lead to a disappointing afternoon at Interlagos with P9/P18 on tomorrow’s grid the result.
- A light shower before Q1 meant a wet start to the session; the track rapidly drying to allow dry running for the majority of proceedings
- Romain’s car incurred damage in a collision with Pedro de la Rosa at T14 bringing his session; a hasty nose change was not enough to see him out of Q1
- Kimi progressed relatively safely through Q1, easily through Q2 and struggled in Q3 having used an extra set of mediums early in proceedings
Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05
Position: Q1 – P13 / Q2 – P5 / Q3 – P9
Best Time: Q1 – 1:16.432 / Q2 – 1:13.698 / Q3 – 1:13.298
Laps Completed: Q1 – 9 / Q2 – 10 / Q3 – 3
Q1 – 10mins: Fresh medium tyres for an install run; track now dry enough for slick rubber
Q1 – 14mins: Opening attempt on scrubbed mediums some way off the pace; feeling his way onto the green track after missing out on FP3
Q1 – 17mins: Second stint on medium rubber again; personal best sectors to move into the top 10
Q1 – 20mins: Session ends; safely progresses in P13
Q2 – 00mins: Straight out for a first run on scrubbed mediums; just outside the top 10 in the early stages
Q2 – 08mins: New mediums for a second and final stint; immediately improves to clinch P3 with a handful of minutes remaining
Q2 – 15mins: Session ends; comfortably into the final stage in P5
Q3 – 06mins: Emerges for a single stint on fresh medium rubber
Q3 – 08mins: Goes P6 with a single attempt; looking to save tyres for the race as the final contenders cross the line
Q3 – 10mins: Chequered flag; P9 for the Finn as the grid shuffles down
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m12.458s 2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m12.513s + 0.055 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m12.581s + 0.123 4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m12.760s + 0.302 5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m12.987s + 0.529 6. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m13.174s + 0.716 7. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m13.206s + 0.748 8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m13.253s + 0.795 9. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m13.298s + 0.840 10. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m13.489s + 1.031 Q2 cut-off time: 1m14.048s Gap ** 11. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m14.121s + 0.912 12. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m14.219s + 1.010 13. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m14.234s + 1.025 14. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m14.334s + 1.125 15. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m14.380s + 1.171 16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m14.574s + 1.365 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m14.619s + 1.410 Q1 cut-off time: 1m16.744s Gap * 18. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m16.967s + 1.892 19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m17.073s + 1.998 20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m17.086s + 2.011 21. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m17.508s + 2.433 22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m18.104s + 3.029 23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m19.576s + 4.501 24. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m19.699s + 4.624
“We didn’t get a single lap this morning and yesterday we didn’t really get anything done, so the car was pretty bad,” Raikkonen replied when asked by AUTOSPORT how the practice problems had affected his qualifying form. “We just had to change it a lot since yesterday and it was purely guessing for qualifying because we hadn’t done many laps. In that way, it was fine, but with some running this morning we could have done some proper set-up work.” Raikkonen said Lotus was not among the teams to gamble on a wet set-up for the race. “No, we just did something that we hope works because we had no running,” he said. “The car wasn’t very good. At least we got something out of qualifying.”
Kimi Raikkonen – 9th: Of course we expect to do better but it’s been a tricky weekend. If I could have just done a few laps this morning it would have made things much easier, but after the engine problem I couldn’t complete any running and with the different temperatures from yesterday it was hard to know what would be the best setup. So I guess it was good to get into Q3 after all the issues; it means we got something out of today when it could have been even worse.
Romain Grosjean – 18th: Unfortunately there’s not much to say. I stayed behind Pedro [de la Rosa] during his flying lap to not disturb his time, but then when we got to the straight I tried to get past and he just didn’t see me. I braked as much as I could but it was too late; he moved across, there was contact which broke my front wing and that was my afternoon ruined. To be honest I’m pretty upset about it; of course, every driver is out there fighting for position but pulling that kind of move when the car behind is clearly faster is just pointless. The car felt very good this morning and we should have been fighting for the top five not struggling to get into Q2. There’s a lot of work to do now to get close to where we should be, but we know the pace is there so hopefully we can still bring home some good points.
P5 on the timing sheets, P4 on the grid for Kimi; a penalty for his team-mate promoting the Finn one position on the grid for tomorrow’s United States Grand Prix. We caught up with the Iceman to hear his thoughts on a hotly contested qualifying session here in Texas.
Q: Kimi, P4 on the grid for tomorrow’s race; is that about what you expected?
KR: I was actually expecting a more difficult qualifying session today, but the car was the best its felt all weekend so it turned out to be quite good. It’s still difficult to get the tyres working with the way the track is at the moment so I think we can be happy with where we are.
Q: You weren’t entirely comfortable with the car yesterday; was there a significant improvement for qualifying?
KR: The set-up is still not exactly how I want it but it’s much closer. Our car works better when it’s a bit warmer and that certainly made a difference this afternoon. The track is still quite slippery – especially in the morning – but it’s getting better all the time so the grip will come.
Q: Last time out you qualified P5, were promoted to P4 and the won the race; can you do the same tomorrow?
KR: We didn’t have the speed of the Red Bull today so in a normal race it will be difficult to beat them but you never know what can happen. Being on the dirty side of the grid maybe isn’t the best; we’ll have to hope that the circuit picks up a little more grip for the race but it is what it is. We’ll try to get a clean start and see what we can do from there.
Lotus showed very strong form in fourth and fifth with Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen, although the former will drop back five places due to a gearbox change penalty.
- Significantly warmer conditions after a chilled morning practice session saw lap times rapidly tumble
- The session began with Romain’s car still in the garage as the team completed a gearbox change
- The white marked medium compound Pirelli tyres were used by both drivers through each phase
- Both Kimi and Romain progressed easily from Q1, making a relatively straightforward passage to Q3 shortly afterwards
- Romain will take a five place grid penalty following his gearbox change from FP3
Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05
Position: Q1 – P12 / Q2 – P10 / Q3 – P4
Best Time: Q1 – 1:38.051 / Q2 – 1:37.404 / Q3 – 1:36.708
Laps Completed: Q1 – 11 / Q2 – 20 / Q3 – 26
Q1 – 00mins: Straight out of the box for a banker run on hard tyres
Q1 – 07mins: Drops through the pit lane for a switch to medium rubber
Q1 – 10mins: Goes P2 at the halfway stage; narrowly behind his team-mate
Q1 – 20mins: Safely graduates from the first phase in P11
Q2 – 00mins: Immediately departs the garage on scrubbed mediums
Q2 – 03mins: Slippery moment through T19 but recovers to set a strong initial lap
Q2 – 09mins: Consistent improvements over a relatively long stint to sneak inside the top ten
Q2 – 12mins: Emerges for another run; fails to improve
Q2 – 15mins: Edges through to the final session in P10
Q3 – 04mins: Begins first stint on fresh medium rubber; fairly average opening attempt
Q3 – 08mins: Leaves it late to complete final run; significant improvement to break into the top five
Q3 – 10mins: Chequered flag; P5 for the Finn
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m35.657s 2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.766s + 0.109 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m36.174s + 0.517 4. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m36.587s + 1.051 5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m36.708s + 1.137 6. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m36.794s + 1.280 7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m36.937s + 1.484 8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m37.141s + 1.643 9. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.300s + 0.930 10. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m37.842s + 2.185 Q2 cut-off time: 1m37.404s Gap ** 11. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m37.604s + 1.808 12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m37.616s + 1.820 13. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m37.665s + 1.869 14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m37.879s + 2.083 15. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.206s + 2.410 16. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.437s + 2.641 17. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m38.501s + 2.705 Q1 cut-off time: 1m38.862s Gap * 18. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.114s + 2.556 19. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m40.056s + 3.498 20. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m40.664s + 4.106 21. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m40.809s + 4.251 22. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m41.166s + 4.608 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m42.011s + 5.453 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m42.740s + 6.182
Kimi Raikkonen – 5th: “I was actually expecting a more difficult qualifying session today, but the car was the best it’s felt all weekend so it turned out to be quite good. The set-up is still not exactly how I want it but it’s much closer. The warmer conditions make the car work much better and that certainly makes a difference. Starting on the dirty side of the grid maybe isn’t the best; we’ll have to hope that the circuit picks up a little more grip for the race tomorrow.”
A fine fifth qualifying result from our Iceman today means he’ll start on the third row of the grid for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Kimi gives us the session from his point of view and tells us why he’ll be keen to keep up with the Bulls from the start of tomorrow’s race
Q: How has your day been ? Qualifying didn’t look too bad…
KR: Qualifying was good. The car hasn’t felt fantastic all weekend but we decided we weren’t going to change the car’s set-up from where it was for the last race. It was the right choice because in the end the circuit came to us in qualifying where the car was the best it has been so far here. We’ll give tomorrow our best shot ; Let’s see if we can make a good start to get right behind the Red Bulls, and then we’ll see what happens after that.
Q: How important do you think the start will be ? Everyone is saying it’s going to be a one stop strategy, will it be crucial to get a good start for the race tomorrow ?
KR: It’ll be the same as many of the races ; here you don’t see a lot of overtaking, although this year we will have the DRS so we’ll try to gain a place if we can, and make as good a start as we can.
Q: How was the speed in the car this weekend ?
KR: The speed was fine ; we had the speed last time also, and the lap time, but not the speed in a straight line. If we are able to put ourselves behind cars with a similar speed then we can see what we can do during a pit stop..
Q: Pace wise, you’re not too far off the top guys, do you think you’ll have a chance tomorrow to go for podium ?
KR: If we can get behind the Red Bulls after the start, then we should have the chance to stay with them and hopefully do something about it during the race. I think our only chance is if they make a mistake and then we’ll try to get past. It will be the same as India I think, and if we had qualified higher then it would have been a completely different story.
A solid overall performance in qualifying at the Yas Marina Circuit this afternoon will see Kimi and Romain take up P5 / P10 respectively on the grid for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
- Rapidly cooling conditions as the sun began to fade saw distinct track variations as the sessions progressed
- Both drivers graduated safely to the second phase without using the yellow marked soft compound Pirelli tyre
- Clean running for the pair throughout proceedings gave a good chance to test the pace of the E20 un-hindered
- The stewards have chosen to investigate Romain for an unsafe release in Q2; result pending
Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05
Position: Q1 – P9 / Q2 – P5 / Q3 – P5
Best Time: Q1 – 1:42.222 / Q2 – 1:41.532 / Q3 – 1:41.260
Laps Completed: Q1 – 8 / Q2 – 6 / Q3 – 6
Q1 – 02mins: Puts in an early banker lap on fresh medium rubber
Q1 – 06mins: First competitive run; goes P2
Q1 – 14mins: Second stint; another set of new mediums
Q1 – 20mins: Progresses to Q2 in P9
Q2 – 00mins: Straight out on brand new soft tyres
Q2 – 03mins: Goes quickest with opening effort; knocked off shortly afterwards by his team-mate
Q2 – 10mins: Second stint on fresh soft rubber; again mixing it at the front
Q2 – 15mins: Chequered flag; takes P6 secure a place in Q3
Q3 – 00mins: Eager to hit the track; waits for the green light at the end of the pit-lane with a set of scrubbed softs
Q3 – 08mins: Impressive last gasp attempt to move firmly into the top five as the remaining cars crossed the line
Q3 – 10mins: Final result; P10 on the grid for the Finn
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m40.630s 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m40.978s + 0.348 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m41.073s + 0.443 4. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m41.226s + 0.596 5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m41.260s + 0.630 6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.290s + 0.660 7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m41.582s + 0.952 8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m41.603s + 0.973 9. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m41.723s + 1.093 10. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m41.778s + 1.148 Q2 cut-off time: 1m41.907s Gap ** 11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m42.019s + 1.118 12. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.084s + 1.183 13. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m42.218s + 1.317 14. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m42.289s + 1.388 15. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m42.330s + 1.429 16. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.606s + 1.705 17. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m42.765s + 1.864 Q1 cut-off time: 1m43.582s Gap * 18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m44.058s + 2.561 19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m44.956s + 3.459 20. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m45.089s + 3.592 21. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m45.151s + 3.654 22. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m45.426s + 3.929 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m45.766s + 4.269 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m46.382s + 4.885
Kimi Raikkonen – 5th: “Qualifying was good. The car hasn’t felt fantastic all weekend but we decided we weren’t going to change the car’s set-up from where it was for the last race. It was the right choice because in the end the circuit came to us in qualifying where the car was the best it has been so far here. We’ll give tomorrow our best shot; Let’s see if we can make a good start to get right behind the Red Bulls, and then we’ll see what happens after that.”
Romain Grosjean – 10th: “It wasn’t a great qualifying lap for me today, and P10 is not where we want to be on the grid. In the last run in Q3 I had no grip so wasn’t able to find more pace. The car had felt fine before that and we looked good through the other qualifying sessions. It just means I have some more work to do in the race and I think there’s more to come from me and the car.”
Kimi Raikkonen admitted he only has himself to blame for the set-up change that cost him the chance of a decent grid slot for the Indian Grand Prix.
The Finn believes his Lotus had the potential to qualify right behind the dominant Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, but a lack of grip left him down in seventh.
“I thought that we should have probably been third or fourth here after Friday practice,” said Raikkonen.
“I made a decision to change the car after practice and it was probably the wrong decision. I am surprised that we finished seventh, it was a decision that I should not have made. But you try. Sometimes you go the wrong way.”
He added: “You try to be a little bit faster and you push over the limit in certain areas and then you start going backwards.
“We have been very patient the whole weekend and not tried too many things, because we know more or less where we should be.
“We tried to be smart to improve in certain areas and then you find out it wasn’t a good idea, but that is easy to say afterwards.
“That is why I am a bit disappointed. I am disappointed in myself because I made the decision. It was my choice, I made it and it didn’t pay off.”
With parc ferme regulations meaning that changes cannot be made to the car before the race, Raikkonen is downbeat about his chances of rediscovering his promising Friday form.
“I don’t think it is suddenly going to come back because we cannot touch the car. Maybe the high fuel will help, or maybe the weather will change, but we see in the race how it is.”
A setup change between the morning practice session and the afternoon qualifying session didn’t give Kimi the car he wanted for qualifying; P7 on the grid for tomorrow’s Indian Grand Prix was the result.
Q: Do you feel that where you qualified is where Lotus F1 Team are at the moment?
KR: No, I think that we could have been third or fourth. After this morning we made the decision to change the car a little bit, and that was probably the wrong decision. It took all the grip away from the track and actually I’m surprised that we qualified where we did! You have to try these things, but sometimes they don’t work as you want. We often change things a little bit, as there are always areas where the car can be improved. I’m very disappointed I made the decision as we had a very good car this morning and I really think that we should have been on the second row of the grid.
Q: How frustrated are you?
KR: It’s disappointing because yesterday and this morning we were really quick here. Two weeks, or three weeks ago, in Japan, it was pretty normal, but here – because we have the speed – and have had it the whole weekend, so that’s why it’s disappointing and we definitely should have been in a much better position.
Q: Will the set up make a difference in the race?
KR: We cannot touch the car, but perhaps with the high fuel it will feel different and perhaps the circuit will change. Unfortunately, I don’t think the car will magically go back to feeling as good as it was this morning.
Q: How important will tomorrow’s strategy be?
KR: I don’t think anybody has struggled with the tyres, so I think they’ll probably follow each other! To be honest, I don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t have the straight line speed so we’ll just do the best we can.
Q: Do you feel there is a bit of a step forward from the new upgrades?
KR: I think it depends a bit from circuit to circuit; we had a pretty good race in Korea. We had a good speed there until we got a bit stuck behind other cars and it got a bit cooler so we lost our grip a little bit. We have a few new parts here so perhaps we’ll be slightly more competitive.