Another weekend, another new country and race track for the Iceman, who posted the fifth fastest time on day one on track at the Buddh International Circuit. Kimi talks us through his first impressions of the circuit.
Q: It’s been the first day’s running for you out on track; talk us through your day…
KR: I think it was okay and we didn’t have any issues. On the soft tyres the car felt very nice and we had good pace. On the hard tyres we felt good too, but I don’t think we got them working well enough to get as much pace from them as other people could.
Q: What are your thoughts of the circuit? It’s the first time you’ve been here, what are you initial impressions?
KR: The circuit is nice. I think it’s easier to learn than the Korean track; it’s not as technical but it’s good. It’s always nice to come to a new place like this – I’ve been racing for many years, and you always end up going to the same places, so it’s good when you get a new place and a new circuit. For sure we can still improve our times on one lap but I think we are not too far away from our maximum speed. Of course I hope that we are faster than McLaren as we were today, but you can never tell during practice sessions, as you may get one great lap, while another team has a mistake.
Q: Do you think the Coandă exhaust system is a step in the right direction?
KR: It is now the same on both cars, so we wouldn’t use it if we didn’t think it was better! We already have more developments to the system since Korea. You do lose some horsepower with it, and so we struggle a bit on the straights, but hopefully we can keep improving for the coming races and gain some more speed.
Q: How do you feel the development battle has gone this season?
KR: For sure the teams ahead are bigger than us and have more money to build things, more people to make the parts, and unfortunately money makes a big difference in this sport. But we haven’t done badly, that’s for sure, especially if you compare us with the bigger teams that we’re fighting against. It’s disappointing that we’re not there, but we have to be realistic as we’ve still done a pretty good job this year.
Q: Do you feel that all the improvements to this car have been made already and that the focus should shift to next year?
KR: No we will still try to improve this car, because everything we do now will help us for next year. It’s not wasting our time, and the developments we make now will perhaps go on the new car anyhow so we’ll all keep pushing and working hard. It’s not easy to find half a second and at this stage of the year it’s amazingly tricky to find a small amount of progress, but we’ll keep trying of course.