Lotus: The E21 looks reasonably competitive with both drivers pretty happy

Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean ended the first evening of practice for the Singapore Grand Prix with the fifth fastest lap – despite missing considerable amounts of track time, whilst Kimi Räikkönen set the fifth fastest time in the first session and eighth quickest in the second.

A mere thousandth of a second separated Kimi and Romain after their first outing on the Marina Bay Circuit. The sessions were characterised by hot and humid conditions with a distinct lack of sunlight, given the evening timetable in Singapore.

Technical programme notes:

  • Both cars ran with the original length wheelbase configuration E21 in the latest slimline bodywork specification.
  • Romain’s car spent additional time in the garage in the first session, as work was undertaken on steering rack balancing.
  • Both cars changed brake cooling packages for the second session.
  • Romain’s car spent additional time in the garage at the start of FP2 due to a suspected brake master cylinder issue and then ended the session early due to an hydraulic leak.
  • Pirelli’s Medium [white] tyre was used in the morning, with the Medium and Super soft [red] compound slick tyres used in the afternoon session.

What we learned today:

  • The E21 demonstrated strong potential using both tyre compounds.

Kimi Räikkönen, E21-03:

  • Free practice 1: P5, 1:48.354, 18 laps
  • Free practice 2: P8, 1:45.778, 32 laps

“It was a pretty decent day. The car felt okay, but I had some traffic on my fast lap on the softer tyres so I wasn’t able to set a faster lap. The car isn’t too bad and there are still some places where we can make it faster. The times don’t matter on Friday so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

Romain Grosjean, E21-02:

  • Free practice 1: P6, 1:48.355, 12 laps
  • Free practice 2: P5, 1:45.411, 18 laps

“We had a lot of problems today with the car which meant I didn’t complete many laps. It wasn’t the ideal situation, but nevertheless the baseline we have here is pretty good. Hopefully we can get on top of the issues we had and have a strong car for qualifying as track position is pretty important here. Tyre degradation was better than we expected with the Super-soft performing well, so we’ll have to look closely at the data for the rest of the weekend.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “It was quite a difficult day for us today with Romain missing a reasonable amount of running in his car, but he made the laps [which] he did complete really count. He seemed to get to grips with his car and the track very well considering the circumstances. The E21 looks reasonably competitive with both drivers pretty happy. We need to dial out some understeer on Kimi’s car and once Romain has some more track time we should be well placed for the rest of the weekend.” (Lotus F1)

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