It’s been a good start to 2012 so far for Romain Grosjean, who topped the times this morning in Jerez, setting an early benchmark of 1min 18.419secs using Pirelli’s medium compound 2012 specification tyre.
Romain ran through a programme of set-up evaluations as he put more kilometres on the E20. There were no reliability issues reported during the 53 laps completed by 13h00 local time.
“It’s the first time I’ve started the season as a Formula 1 race driver, so it was something special for me when I left the pitlane for the first time today” said the French driver.
“It was very slippery on track first thing this morning, but I’m enjoying being in the car. I’m comfortable and the E20 is nice to drive.”
Romain completed a number of runs as the team ran through its test programme.
“We’ve been looking at different set-ups as we need as much data as possible before the season gets underway. You need to know how the car reacts – say for example if you have understeer at a circuit, you need to know how to counter it. So we ran through a number of changes and logged everything to gain a better understanding of the car.”
Setting the fastest time of the morning was not a target for the team, but it nevertheless gave Romain a warm feeling.
“It was very good to be at the top of the times – hopefully we will stay there for the rest of the season!”
Today's times: Pos--Driver--------Team------------Time--------------Laps 1. Rosberg Mercedes 1m17.613s 118 2. Grosjean Lotus 1m18.419s +0.806 117 3. Vettel Red Bull 1m19.297s +1.684 96 4. Hamilton McLaren 1m19.464s +1.851 80 5. Vergne Toro Rosso 1m19.734s +2.121 79 6. Perez Sauber 1m19.770s +2.157 48 7. Alonso Ferrari 1m20.412s +2.799 67 8. Senna Williams 1m21.293s +3.680 125 9. Van der Garde Caterham 1m23.324s +5.711 74
Kimi is still at Jerez at the Lotus garage as his teammate Romain Grosjean takes over on day three of testing, following these live commentary notes:
Kimi Raikkonen is only 192 laps into his Formula 1 comeback with Lotus, but the Enstone outfit’s chief, Eric Boullier, reckons that the 2007 world champion has already shown his true colours. Kimi is fast, we knew that, but he has also proved that he is capable of being the leader that every Formula 1 team needs.
For Lotus (nee Renault), Raikkonen’s return is timely indeed. There was a time when it had an iron man in the cockpit in the form of Robert Kubica, a driver who imposed his personality on the team and left no one in any doubt as to what he wanted… and demanded. He wasn’t necessarily the most easy-going to work with, but he was loved by the team because he did the job behind the wheel and left no stone unturned in the pursuit of results. For a team that felt the absence of that kind of leadership so keenly in 2011, Raikkonen’s arrival has been embraced.