Archive for April 13, 2012

Kimi – “the race is where it really counts”


After a mixed day for the team in China, Kimi remains philosophical about the weekend ahead at the Shanghai International Circuit, and looks forward to the all-important event on Sunday – race day.

Q: Kimi, it seemed like the car was not quite how you wanted it today; can you tell us a bit more?

KR: It’s not often you have a perfect car on Friday and there are certain things we need to improve which is perfectly normal. It doesn’t really matter if you are first or last in testing because that’s exactly what it is; testing. We’ve been trying a few upgrades and some different set-ups to see how the car behaves which was the main purpose of today, so I wouldn’t read too much into it.

Q: How would you summarise the two sessions?

KR: We managed to put in a good number of laps, not so much this morning but this afternoon. Of course, we’d ideally like to be nearer the front but like I said it’s just testing. The changing conditions held us back a bit in FP1 and unfortunately we lost a bit of time making set-up changes in FP2, but towards the end we decided to stick with what we were running which gave us some good track time. We have a lot of work to do for sure, but it’s been the same at each race weekend this season so it’s not unexpected.

Q: Do you think the weather today has had a real impact on the set-up of the car? A few drivers were complaining of the front tyres fading quickly…

KR: Maybe, but the weather is the same for everyone – if it rains it rains, if it’s dry it’s dry. There were a few cold days during testing and we had no problems there. It’s just a matter of finding the best setup. The tyres felt ok, but we didn’t do any particularly long stints so it’s hard to tell.

Q: How did you find the upgrade package for the car?

KR: The conditions in FP1 made it hard to see where we are with the new upgrades which was a bit of a setback. When you make a few changes to the car it’s not as easy to go out and push straight away like other teams are able to, but this will improve over the weekend. The car didn’t feel too different from where we’ve been at previous circuits, but obviously the lap times are not as competitive yet. We’ll be looking at the data overnight and hopefully we can find some more speed tomorrow.

Q: As you’ve said it would be nice to sit further up the order even at this early stage in proceedings; what are your ambitions for this weekend?

KR: If you just go by the lap times and nothing else then we haven’t looked so fast today, but the race is where it really counts. For sure we have some work to do and changes to make, but this is normal. For the race I think we need to be aiming at improving on the results we’ve had so far, as we’ve been strong all year but not managed to get the points we deserved.


Chinese Grand Prix – Friday Practice Results

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After a somewhat frustrating start to the day, returning from lunch to find a dry track was a welcome surprise as the drivers settled back in to the cockpits of their E20s. Both Kimi and Romain departed the garage at almost exactly 14:00 with a busy programme now on the agenda after limited running during the morning session.

Romain opted for a short first run on the medium compound tyre, completing 4 laps before returning to base. Kimi chose a different strategy, with two stints of 4 and 3 laps sandwiching a pit stop simulation with front wing change.

With the lap times tumbling, it soon became clear that the team were placing an emphasis on race pace rather than single lap speed as Kimi and Romain parked up having set the 17th and 21st fastest times respectively.

Romain’s second run kicked off with around an hour left to run, the Frenchman using a scrubbed set of medium compound tyres and again focusing on race setup. His reactions were called into play once more to recover from a big moment on the entry to turn 8 – despite taking to the grass there was no damage to the car and Romain went on to complete his 4 lap run.

No sooner had Romain returned to the pits than Kimi made his way back out onto the circuit for a short run of just 2 laps on a fresh set of medium compound tyres. The next stint for both drivers came almost immediately afterwards, with each sporting the soft compound tyre for the first time and producing almost identical lap times.

After a raft of setup changes, particularly for Kimi, subsequent runs saw the drivers once again trading times in very close unison as the session drew to a close. Kimi ended the day in P13 with a best time of 1:37.836 from 30 laps, with Romain close behind in P15 after setting a fastest time of 1:37.972 from 26 laps.

Once again with new parts being tested and race setup the priority, the true pace of the E20 here in China has yet to be demonstrated. All eyes now turn to Saturday’s action…


Kimi Raikkonen – 13th: “It’s not often that you have a perfect car on Friday and there are certain things we have to improve. To be honest, it doesn’t matter if you are the slowest car on Friday if you are fast for the rest of the weekend. We now just need to look at the information and change the usual things on the car to improve it. We’re aiming for better results than what we’ve achieved from the last two weekends. For sure, we have some work to do on the car. We tried some different things with the set-up today so we have some information to look at, and we know there are certain areas where we have to improve.”

James Allison, Technical Director: “We spent today trying to make the E20 good for the race and tomorrow we’ll look at ultimate qualifying pace. The morning session was damp and drizzly, and the afternoon was a bit cold. We’re not certain that today will be representative of the race conditions we’ll see. We didn’t find a balance that either driver was happy with today, but we experienced a similar Friday scenario in Albert Park and Sepang and managed to get the cars sorted for Saturday.”

Second practice:

 1.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1m35.973             32
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1m36.145s  + 0.172   29
 3.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1m36.160s  + 0.187   26
 4.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1m36.433s  + 0.460   23
 5.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1m36.617s  + 0.644   30
 6.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1m36.711s  + 0.738   27
 7.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1m36.956s  + 0.983   28
 8.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1m36.966s  + 0.993   30
 9.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   1m37.191s  + 1.218   30
10.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1m37.316s  + 1.343   32
11.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1m37.417s  + 1.444   22
12.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m37.616s  + 1.643   33
13.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault          1m37.836s  + 1.863   30
14.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m37.930s  + 1.957   31
15.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault          1m37.972s  + 1.999   25
16.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault       1m38.176s  + 2.203   34
17.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1m38.293s  + 2.320   30
18.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault       1m38.783s  + 2.810   37
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault       1m38.990s  + 3.017   36
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault       1m39.346s  + 3.373   19
21.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth      1m39.651s  + 3.678   15
22.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth           1m40.343s  + 4.370   24
23.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth      1m40.753s  + 4.780   30
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           1m41.125s  + 5.162   26

First practice:

The first session of the weekend here in China proved to be a frustrating affair, as intermittent drizzle limited useful running time for the team at the Shanghai International Circuit.