Romain Grosjean qualified in P4 whilst Kimi Räikkönen set the fifth fastest time under blue skies and light clouds in qualifying for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Kimi Räikkönen: “I think we had a chance to be in the top three but we’ve been fighting with the set-up quite a bit today. We changed the car for qualifying and actually it was the correct call in the end; it was just a few small mistakes which cost me some time on my Q3 lap. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow in the race; the car has usually been better on Sunday than it has been on Saturday, so if that’s the case tomorrow we’ll be pretty happy. A lot of small details will decide the race and the tyres are one aspect of course. Our long runs were promising yesterday, so we’re not looking too bad. Hopefully we get a reasonable start and we can be up at the right end and go for it. I think we’ve got a good car and that’s the main thing.”
Romain Grosjean: “It was a good performance from the team, especially as I didn’t run in FP3 because of a fuel pressure problem. For the set-up we went from what we’d found out yesterday and it worked pretty well. Everyone did a good job to get the car ready for qualifying after the problems of the morning. We can be happy with what we have achieved – of course you always want more but this is the result for today. I think that I could have been a little bit quicker, not too much more. Tomorrow is going to be long; our race pace did not look too bad but, of course, we’ll have to manage tyre degradation.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “Today went relatively smoothly for us…”
How do you assess today’s qualifying performance?: “Today went relatively smoothly for us. In Q3 I think we could have had a little bit more from both drivers’ laps. For Romain in particular – after missing this morning’s practice – it was an exceptional effort. Having the hard and soft tyres as opposed to two compounds which sit alongside each other (the medium and soft used in Bahrain for example) meant we had to approach qualifying differently as we all needed the softer tyre to progress through Q1, limiting the number of soft tyres available for the next two sessions. We saw different approaches to this; we’ll have to see in the race whose was correct.”
How are we looking for the race? “Our long run pace yesterday looked good so we can be reasonably confident heading into the race. Our target for today was to get both cars into the top six; we’ve got both in the top five so let’s try and exceed expectations once again tomorrow.”
What are we thinking for tyre strategy heading into tomorrow? “We used three sets of soft tyres to go through qualifying, but we have two new sets of the hard compound Pirelli tyres. We are very flexible on tyre strategy for tomorrow and we’ll be spending a lot of time now looking at all the possible permutations. There’s certainly no clear solution shouting out at us at this stage, so we have a lot of number crunching to do. We’ll be starting both cars on scrubbed soft tyres, after that it is still to be decided.
Info & Image: Lotus F1 Team