Report – Scuderia Ferrari’s F14 Ts will start tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix at the Catalunya circuit from the third and fourth rows. Kimi Raikkonen was sixth fastest in 1.27.104, beating team-mate Fernando Alonso by just 36 thousandths. It was a complicated, difficult session for the Scuderia. Raikkonen got through to Q2 in 16th and last place in Q1 and then Alonso suffered the same fate, getting through to the top-ten shoot-out in tenth place.
Once again, Lewis Hamilton was on pole, taking his fourth of the season and the 35th of his career. He beat his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by 168 thousandths. The second row features Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull and Valtteri Bottas in the Williams. Joining Kimi on row 3 is a surprise in the shape of Frenchman Romain Grosjean in the Lotus, while Alonso has Jenson Button in the McLaren for company on row 4.
Kimi Raikkonen: “We can’t be pleased with sixth place, because naturally we want to be fighting for the top places. But compared to the last race, we have managed to solve some problems and have improved the feeling I have from the car. Yesterday, the long run went well and, in general, we did a good job, but there is still much more to do, because we are not yet as fast as we would like to be. Tomorrow, the goal is to get a good start and then have a normal race. Of course, we will also need a good strategy and we will have to keep an eye on our tyre management. It won’t be easy, but we are definitely going to fight.”
Kimi – every flying lap is a fight: The Finn outpaced team-mate Fernando Alonso in Spanish Grand Prix qualifying, taking sixth place – one spot ahead of the sister car. But asked if that was a sign of progress, Raikkonen replied: “No, the morning was a disaster and we changed the car quite a bit. It was still very difficult, I had to fight a lot to get the one lap out. There are small things all the time and it’s tricky to get the one lap. You have to stay on line and try not to make a mistake, it’s always a fight to get the lap out, and obviously it’s still disappointing to be six or seventh.”
Kimi taking little satisfaction from out-qualifying Alonso: “Obviously people are interested in that side, but for me until we are in the front it does not interest me. Obviously I try to stay in front of him, but it doesn’t give me much satisfaction when we are sixth and seventh – that’s not where we want to be. It’s a much bigger picture that we have to look at and right now if I’m in front it’s nice but it doesn’t really change my life. I want to win as a team at the front and then it makes a difference, but right now it does not make that big a difference. If you looked in the morning it was a disaster and then we changed the car quite a bit, but it’s still really difficult and we have to find a lot to get the one lap out. It’s small things all the time but it’s tricky to get one lap on the line without making massive mistakes, it seems to always happen the mistakes. It’s just a big fight always to get the lap out of it. We’re still disappointed, it’s still sixth and seventh and we want to be in the front so we cannot be happy, but that’s how it goes.”
Asked if a podium was possible, he said: “That’s the aim, but is it going to happen? Hard to say. In previous races this year there has always been something happening and it’s been difficult, so hopefully we will have a normal race, but let’s wait and see.”
Pat Fry: “Today’s qualifying session was difficult for everyone. The track conditions had not improved much since yesterday and it was very difficult to put together a clean lap. We continued to work on the balance of both cars as we tried to increase the grip, but it was not enough to obtain better grid positions for Fernando and Kimi. As always here in Barcelona, it will be important to get a good understanding of the tyre degradation, because this track provides a real challenge for the two tyre compounds in terms of performance and wear. Overall, we have made a few small steps forward on improving the stability of the F14 T, both under braking and on turn-in to the corners, as well as on power delivery, so as to give the drivers more confidence in the car. But there is still lots of work to do to improve the efficiency of the car, especially on the aerodynamic front. Tomorrow’s race will be difficult, but we can count on having a pair of amazing drivers who will be trying to make up a few places.”
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m25.232s 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m25.400s +0.168s 3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m26.285s +1.053s 4. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m26.632s +1.400s 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m26.960s +1.728s 6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m27.104s +1.872s 7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m27.140s +1.908s 8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m27.335s +2.103s 9. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m27.402s +2.170s 10. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault Q3 cut-off time: 1m27.602s ** 11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m27.685s +1.597s 12. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m28.002s +1.914s 13. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m28.039s +1.951s 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.280s +2.192s 15. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault Q2 cut-off time: 1m28.472s * 17. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.563s +1.799s 18. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m29.586s +2.822s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m30.177s +3.413s 20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m30.312s +3.548s 21. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m30.375s +3.611s 22. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault
Watch Kimi’s Q3 lap and more here.