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BELGIUM GP – FINAL PRACTICE RESULTS

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PRACTICE THREE

Report – The track was damp at the start after earlier rainfall and hardly anyone went out on track therefore for the first 30 minutes. With 25 minutes left, the track was dry enough for slicks and the track finally got busy. Raikkonen and Alonso did 9 laps each, first on the Medium tyres and then simulated qualifying on the Softs. Kimi’s best time was a 1.49.817, while Fernando stopped the clocks in 1.49.890. The fight for pole gets underway at 2pm when rain might well be on the agenda again.

FP3 Times:

Pos  Driver             Team/Car              Time       Gap      Laps
 1.  Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes     1m49.465s           12
 2.  Daniel Ricciardo   Red Bull-Renault      1m49.733s  +0.268s  9
 3.  Nico Rosberg       Mercedes              1m49.739s  +0.274s  13
 4.  Kimi Raikkonen     Ferrari               1m49.817s  +0.352s  9
 5.  Lewis Hamilton     Mercedes              1m49.817s  +0.352s  13
 6.  Fernando Alonso    Ferrari               1m49.890s  +0.425s  9
 7.  Daniil Kvyat       Toro Rosso-Renault    1m49.893s  +0.428s  11
 8.  Jenson Button      McLaren-Mercedes      1m50.203s  +0.738s  11
 9.  Felipe Massa       Williams-Mercedes     1m50.423s  +0.958s  11
10.  Jean-Eric Vergne   Toro Rosso-Renault    1m50.535s  +1.070s  10
11.  Sergio Perez       Force India-Mercedes  1m50.592s  +1.127s  12
12.  Kevin Magnussen    McLaren-Mercedes      1m50.748s  +1.283s  11
13.  Sebastian Vettel   Red Bull-Renault      1m50.814s  +1.349s  10
14.  Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes  1m50.866s  +1.401s  11
15.  Adrian Sutil       Sauber-Ferrari        1m50.962s  +1.497s  12
16.  Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Renault         1m51.509s  +2.044s  9
17.  Pastor Maldonado   Lotus-Renault         1m51.610s  +2.145s  10
18.  Esteban Gutierrez  Sauber-Ferrari        1m51.898s  +2.433s  15
19.  Jules Bianchi      Marussia-Ferrari      1m52.457s  +2.992s  14
20.  Max Chilton        Marussia-Ferrari      1m52.984s  +3.519s  14
21.  Marcus Ericsson    Caterham-Renault      1m54.294s  +3.829s  11
22.  Andre Lotterer     Caterham-Renault      1m55.008s  +5.543s  13
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Allison: We’ve not provided Kimi with what he needs

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Q: You’ve worked with both the drivers that you’re with at the moment quite a lot through your career. Obviously what Fernando is doing this season is fairly clear but can you spell out or put your finger on what’s characterised Kimi’s season so far?

JA: Well, I would say that we have had a car that is not especially easy to drive – that’s certainly true. Particularly in Kimi’s case he doesn’t much like the front end of the car and Kimi’s a driver who likes to have a very strong and predictable front end to the car and then he’s able to make the most of the skill he had. That isn’t something he’s found yet in Ferrari and we haven’t yet provided for him. That’s, I think, what we’re looking at.

Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) James, as Fernando and Kimi, they have different kinds of driving style. Is it possible to build a car that suits both of them next year?

JA: Yeah, I think so. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t, put it that way. Any driver responds to more downforce, any driver responds to more horsepower, any driver responds to more mechanical grip. We’re putting all of those things into next year’s car and I hope that both the drivers will be satisfied with the outcome.

[ Sourceautosport.com ]

BELGIUM GP – FRIDAY PRACTICE RESULTS

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PRACTICE TWO

Report – Mixed fortunes for Scuderia Ferrari in the second Friday session. Fernando Alonso was again third, while Kimi Raikkonen had an electrical problem, which did not stop him running, but meant he could not push to the maximum, thus affecting his lap times, so that he ended up fifteenth fastest.

Alonso did 19 laps this afternoon, his best being a 1.49.930, one more than Raikkonen, whose fastest lap was a 1.52.234.

Both drivers continued to work on set-up and completed tyre evaluation work, this time also running the Soft Option brought here by Pirelli.

FP2 Times:

Pos Driver                Team                   Time      Gap      Laps
 1. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes               1m49.189s           26
 2. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1m49.793s  +0.604s  28
 3. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1m49.930s  +0.741s  19
 4. Felipe Massa          Williams-Mercedes      1m50.327s  +1.138s  24
 5. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1m50.659s  +1.470s  31
 6. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Mercedes      1m50.677s  +1.488s  26
 7. Daniil Kvyat          Toro Rosso-Renault     1m50.725s  +1.536s  25
 8. Daniel Ricciardo      Red Bull-Renault       1m50.977s  +1.788s  16
 9. Kevin Magnussen       McLaren-Mercedes       1m51.074s  +1.885s  31
10. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   1m51.077s  +1.888s  26
11. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Renault     1m51.383s  +2.194s  26
12. Adrian Sutil          Sauber-Ferrari         1m51.450s  +2.261s  29
13. Sergio Perez          Force India-Mercedes   1m51.573s  +2.384s  28
14. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault          1m52.196s  +3.007s  25
15. Kimi Raikkonen        Ferrari                1m52.234s  +3.045s  18
16. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Ferrari       1m52.776s  +3.587s  23
17. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari         1m53.955s  +4.766s   7
18. Max Chilton           Marussia-Ferrari       1m54.040s  +4.851s  18
19. Marcus Ericsson       Caterham-Renault       1m54.050s  +4.861s  30
20. Andre Lotterer        Caterham-Renault       1m54.093s  +4.904s  24
21. Pastor Maldonado      Lotus-Renault          no time              2
22. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       no time

PRACTICE ONE

Report – Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen ended the first free practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix in third and fifth places respectively. On a sun-kissed Spa track, the Spaniard completed 16 laps and the Finn 17.

Alonso’s best time was a 1.51.805 while Raikkonen stopped the clocks in 1.52.818. In the morning, both Scuderia Ferrari drivers worked on set-up as usual and concentrated on assessing the Pirelli Medium tyres, which are being run this weekend along with the Soft compound.

FP1 Times:

Pos Driver               Team                  Time       Gap     Laps
 1. Nico Rosberg         Mercedes              1m51.577s           25 
 2. Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes              1m51.674s  +0.097s  24 
 3. Fernando Alonso      Ferrari               1m51.805s  +0.228s  16 
 4. Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes      1m52.404s  +0.827s  21 
 5. Kimi Raikkonen       Ferrari               1m52.818s  +1.241s  17 
 6. Sergio Perez         Force India-Mercedes  1m52.903s  +1.326s  24 
 7. Kevin Magnussen      McLaren-Mercedes      1m52.922s  +1.345s  23 
 8. Nico Hulkenberg      Force India-Mercedes  1m52.937s  +1.360s  22 
 9. Daniel Ricciardo     Red Bull-Renault      1m52.972s  +1.395s  19 
10. Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Mercedes     1m53.172s  +1.595s  20 
11. Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault      1m53.369s  +1.792s  11 
12. Daniil Kvyat         Toro Rosso-Renault    1m53.594s  +2.017s  21 
13. Romain Grosjean      Lotus-Renault         1m53.597s  +2.020s  20 
14. Adrian Sutil         Sauber-Ferrari        1m53.703s  +2.126s  14 
15. Felipe Massa         Williams-Mercedes     1m53.968s  +2.391s  20 
16. Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso-Renault    1m54.189s  +2.612s  20 
17. Giedo van der Garde  Sauber-Ferrari        1m54.335s  +2.758s  16 
18. Pastor Maldonado     Lotus-Renault         1m55.336s  +3.759s  21 
19. Jules Bianchi        Marussia-Ferrari      1m55.782s  +4.205s  19 
20. Alexander Rossi      Marussia-Ferrari      1m57.232s  +5.655s  20 
21. Andre Lotterer       Caterham-Renault      1m57.886s  +6.309s  24 
22. Marcus Ericsson      Caterham-Renault      1m57.977s  +6.400s  24

QUOTES

Kimi Raikkonen: “A difficult day, complicated by a series of setbacks which cost us valuable track time. In the morning, I had a brake problem, but once it was sorted, we were able to get through our planned programme for the first session. The new components we brought for this race seem to be working, but only after we have cross-referenced all the data will we be able to work out what is the best package to use for the rest of the weekend. In the afternoon, an electrical problem complicated our work, preventing us from carrying out the race simulation. Tomorrow, we can expect a busy free practice session, in which we will do our best to prepare the car for qualifying and the race.”

Pat Fry: “The Spa circuit is a very enjoyable one for the drivers and at the same time it presents a great challenge for we engineers, especially this year because of the parameters linked to the new Power Unit. In order to gather as much data as possible, we chose to run different programmes with our drivers. Unfortunately, in the second session, Kimi’s work was affected by an electrical problem, which although it didn’t prevent him running, did mean he couldn’t make the most of all the systems. In the first and third sectors, top speed counts the most, while in the middle one, driveability and aerodynamic downforce come into play more and that makes finding the right set-up especially demanding, even more so when looking to the race, because while extra downforce can be an advantage in the second sector, it slows the cars on the straights, making it harder to attack and defend in the race. We are working hard on the efficiency of the car in general and on the thermal energy side of the Power Unit, but I think that at tracks like this one and Monza, which highlights these characteristics on our rivals’ cars, we will have to try and defend with all means available and attack where and when possible.”

Thursday in Spa

Kimi on current F1, racing at Spa + F1 kid Max Verstappen

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The Spa circuit is famous for its high speed challenge and, at his usual Thursday meeting with the media in the Belgian paddock, Kimi Raikkonen was asked if he regretted the fact the current cars are a bit slower than in the past. “In a way yes, if you think of F1, you’d think we would have everything possible in the car to make them go faster, as it was in the past,” began the Scuderia Ferrari driver. “But obviously, now the rules have changed aimed at making the cars slower, while improving the show. I think the cars looked nicer in the past and were much more challenging to drive and it was more fun in some ways. On the other side, maybe we have more overtaking now, but sometimes I think it would be nice to go back and race with the cars from the past.”

When Kimi made his F1 debut there were concerns voiced about his lack of experience, so he is ideally placed to comment on the story of the day, next year’s arrival of the currently 16 year old Max Verstappen at Toro Rosso. “I did one full year, 23 races in a car before coming to F1,” recalled the Finn. “He has probably done more. I did well; time will tell how he will do. The sport is more straightforward now than in the past, the points are given out to more finishers. So I don’t think he will have problems and I hope he does well.”

Kimi’s last win at Spa came at the wheel of a Ferrari in 2009, which at the time he described as “a miracle.” He was asked what a victory would represent on Sunday. “It would be a similar story!” he said. “That year, we were one of the few teams running KERS and that was a good help for us here. Hopefully we can have a good weekend overall and a good race, so that we start improving. But here and Monza are probably not the easiest places for us as we are missing some straightline speed, which is very important at this circuit and the next one. I think that the final part of the season can only be better for us, especially as I’ve had a much better feeling from the car at the last two races.”

[ Source: ferrari.com ]

Kimi Raikkonen does not think the summer break will have changed the fact he felt better in the Ferrari F14 T than he has done all season in Hungary.

Raikkonen’s struggles since his return to Ferrari have been well-documented, especially as he has been out-performed by Fernando Alonso at every race this season. At the beginning of the year Raikkonen was struggling to find the right setting for his car but he thinks the signs from the last few races suggest he is ready to turn a corner.

“I think overall the second half can only get better,” Raikkonen said. “If it gets worse, obviously it’s pretty bad. These two circuits [Spa and Monza] on paper are not the strongest for us but there’s been a better feeling in the car overall in the last few races. I don’t think that’s suddenly disappeared somewhere, we’ve had some new things, small things, which have improved.

“There’s a much better feeling now than there was in the first races of the year because I knew those issues and couldn’t do anything about it at that moment. We are making the right steps and hopefully it’s going to be a bit easier in the second half.”

When asked whether he can pull off another miracle result in Belgium as he did in 2009, when he won his first race of a frustrating season, Raikkonen said he is not too optimistic. “I think it is a similar story but that year we were one of the only ones to run with the KERS and in this kind of place it was a good help for us. Now it’s a bit different, though it’s a difficult year again. Hopefully we can have a good weekend weekend overall and start improving things.

“I expect here and Monza will not be the easiest places for us with the speed we are missing on a straight line, a very important part of those circuits. We will do our best and see where we end up.”

[ Sourceespn.co.uk ]