Lotus: Our pace looks good, both drivers are happy

Kimi Räikkönen completed the first practice sessions for the Monaco Grand Prix with the sixth fastest time of the day, with team-mate Romain Grosjean right behind him in seventh. Kimi set his time on the super soft Pirelli tyre whilst Romain – who was third fastest in the morning – set his time on the soft compound.

Romain’s afternoon session ended early after contact with the barriers on his out lap for a super soft run. As part of the team’s partnership with Columbia Records, both cars and drivers – as well as the team garage – sport eye-catching Daft Punk livery for this weekend.

Technical programme notes:

  • Both drivers ran with new front and rear wing specifications today.
  • Pirelli’s soft (yellow) compound tyre was used in the morning session, the soft and supersoft (red) in the afternoon.
  • The Monaco barriers are unforgiving.
  • What we learned today:
  • The Monaco-spec front and rear wings work well.
  • The E21 looks good on both tyre dry compounds.
  • The damage to Romain’s car is easily repairable and he will continue with a replacement Monaco-spec front wing tomorrow.

Kimi Räikkönen

I was much happier at the end of today than this morning. We spent the first session getting the steering right as it wasn’t great at the beginning, then we changed a few things on the car and it felt far better. We’ve still got a few other areas to improve, but it was getting stronger with every run today. To get pole we have to make the car a bit faster overall and I have to drive a bit better, then we’ll have to see what happens.”

Romain Grosjean

After a great start to the day it was a real shame to end things early. I didn’t have the grip I expected going into the corner, but there was nothing wrong with the car; my braking and entry speed were all wrong and I ended up hitting the barrier. There was no chance to let off and go straight on into the runoff area; I was committed to the corner so that was it. We have a very good car here and it gives you the confidence to push, but unfortunately I pushed a bit too hard. I’m sorry for the team and I definitely owe them all a drink for all the work that’s needed before Saturday. The grid looks very close, but we seem in good shape and I’m eager to get back out on track and fight for the top positions.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:

We’re pretty happy about today. We had a little blip with Romain going into the wall and stopping him doing any long run evaluations in the afternoon, but Kimi completed plenty of laps so we have ample amounts of data to evaluate. Our pace looks good, both drivers are pretty happy with their cars and we’ve still got some improvements to make on both front end grip and single lap pace. There’s not too much damage to Romain’s car and we have plenty of spares so we’re not concerned on that front. That Romain’s fastest lap today was on the soft tyre illustrates his strong pace here, as there’s a second or even more to come from the super soft. Kimi’s a little further off getting the perfect set-up, but we know where the improvements should come from.

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