Saturday, April 14, 2012

Kimi Räikkönen – “Hopefully We Can Move Forward in the Race”

Despite achieving his best qualifying result of the season so far, Kimi feels that the E20 could be further up the order here in China; the Finn gives us his thoughts on qualifying at the Shanghai International Circuit this afternoon

Kimi, today saw your strongest qualifying result of the season to date; how are you feeling after that performance?
Qualifying in P5 is ok but overall our pace is not as good as we had hoped. We’ll start in P4 after Lewis (Hamilton) takes his penalty so the result isn’t bad, but the time could have been better. I tried to improve after my first lap but got a bit wide through one corner, so maybe we could have been a bit closer to the front but really I think we got the maximum from the car today. In a way it’s not too bad, but we’re disappointed with the gap to Nico (Rosberg). Anyway that’s how it goes sometimes; hopefully we can at least keep our position at the start and try to move forward in the race.

You’ve mentioned that the car hasn’t quite lived up to expectations so far this weekend; where do you think improvements need to be made?
We seem to be losing time on the straights and through the corners, but the main thing we’re lacking is downforce. More downforce means more grip, and although the handling is fine we can’t push as hard as we’d like. The colder weather didn’t help us, and the temperature dropped quite a lot in Q3 which made a difference to our speed. It should be warmer tomorrow which will help, but then again it will help some of the other teams too. So far our car has had good race pace, so hopefully we’ll see that again tomorrow. Of course, if it rains then we have a level playing field as everyone will need to start from scratch.

How much of an effect do you think the upgrade package brought in for this weekend has had on the car’s performance?
We’ve tried some new parts which unfortunately haven’t worked as we expected, so the car is now more or less back to the set-up we ran in Malaysia. Hopefully we’ll get the updates working soon so we can keep moving forwards; we don’t want to get into a situation where the others are improving and we’re staying where we are. Our pace is not as good as it was in the last race, but I’m sure we’ll get there once we find how to get the new parts working.

Tyres seem to have been the big topic of the weekend, with high wear at the front and difficulties getting the rubber up to temperature being a common complaint in the paddock; what are your thoughts?
I didn’t have any major issues with the tyres. There is clearly a difference between the compounds, but it’s the same for everybody and again the weather will affect this. It’s hard to say how the tyres will perform during the race as we haven’t done any particularly long runs. Again it depends on how hot it is; when it’s cooler we can’t quite get them working how we would like, but once the track warms up we’re fine. A positive from qualifying is that we didn’t set a timed lap on the last set of tyres so, while they’re not brand new, they have very little wear which should help us at the start.

You set the fastest time in the first sector today; despite not being entirely happy with the car, does this give you some optimism for the race?
I’m surprised we were fastest in the first sector as it didn’t feel particularly quick. In a way we can look at today in a positive light; the fact that we qualified in P5 even though the car isn’t performing as we’d like is actually quite encouraging, especially as we’re not as strong around this track as we were at the previous circuits. Not counting the pole time, we’re not far behind the cars in front of us either so we can be pleased with that. I’m not sure we’re in such a strong position as in the first two Grand Prix – which is strange to say when we have our highest grid slot so far – but we’ll see what we can do.

Source: LotusF1

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