Lotus: We’re obviously disappointed with the qualifying result

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Räikkönen set the ninth fastest time and Romain Grosjean the eleventh during qualifying for the 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix. Romain missed out on the top ten by a mere 0.06secs but will be the first driver on the grid to have open tyre compound choice for tomorrow’s race. Kimi will start from eighth after a penalty for Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

Kimi Räikkönen, E21-03.
Q: P9, 1:33.327
FP3: P4, 1:33.446
“It wasn’t the easiest qualifying session after a weekend which hasn’t been the easiest so far either. Yesterday it was difficult at times to find the balance with the car and I found that again today. This morning it felt good and we didn’t do too bad in free practice, but we didn’t quite get it right this afternoon. My lap wasn’t great, but it’s a long race so we’ll just have to see what we can do tomorrow.”

Romain Grosjean, E21-02.
Q: P11, 1:33.762
FP3: P6, 1:33.464
“It’s obviously disappointing to miss out on Q3 but it’s just one of those things. There weren’t any issues with the car, we just tried to be a little too brave by doing just one run and unfortunately it didn’t pay off. On the positive side, we’ve found a lot of performance this weekend compared to the first three races and our pace on the prime tyres in Q1 looked very strong. We qualified in similar positions last year and came away with a double podium, so it’s still all to play for.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:

How was qualifying for the team?
We’re obviously disappointed with the qualifying result. We just missed the cut for Q3 with Romain who had been looking strong, but unfortunately the track evolution caught us out a little bit and he made a couple of small errors on his only lap in Q2. If this hadn’t been the case, we’re sure he would have made it through.

What about Kimi?
Kimi’s session was a bit more of a mystery. His second run in Q2 was pretty respectable but it just didn’t come together for him in Q3. He’s been strong all weekend up until that point, so we’ll need to trawl through the data this evening to understand what happened.

What opportunities does Romain have from P11?
Romain has plenty of new tyres to work with and starting on fresh rubber should give him a good boost at the start and through the first stint. We can decide which compound he will start on so we’ll be crunching the numbers to work out the optimum strategy.

Are we still confident ahead of the race?
We were very happy with our long run pace yesterday, with both cars showing decent pace and manageable tyre degradation levels. It’s a tough race on tyres which tends to work to our advantage and we managed a great result from a very similar situation this time last year, so we’re certainly not out of it yet.