Lotus: It was a day of mixed feelings for the team

Romain Grosjean qualified in third position at the Marina Bay Street Circuit as Kimi Räikkönen pushed through the pain barrier to take thirteenth on tomorrow’s Singapore Grand Prix grid.

Romain equalled his season-best qualifying position from the Hungarian Grand Prix of P3 with a lap time of 1min 43.058secs, leaving only the Red Bull of championship leader Sebastian Vettel and the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg ahead of him.

Kimi suffered from back aggravations in today’s practice session and participated in qualifying after attention from physiotherapists.

Kimi Räikkönen, E21-05. Q: P13, 1:44.658. FP3: P12, 1:46.147
Unfortunately today didn’t go to plan as the issue with my back meant I couldn’t really drive properly this morning, so we didn’t get everything done like we wanted in the practice session. It’s still quite painful and there wasn’t much more I could do in qualifying when you take that combination of things into account. It’s not the first time I’ve driven with a problem and it probably won’t be the last time either, but I’ll be on the grid tomorrow and we’ll try to get the maximum from where we are at the start.

Romain Grosjean, E21-04. Q: P3, 1:43.058. FP3: P2, 1:44.364
After all the issues we had yesterday the team did a fantastic job to get the car running well and also to find a good setup despite having done so few laps. The car felt good all day; enough that we were confident in taking a risk during Q1 by not running the option tyres. It was a great strategy call that really paid off, and I think with a little more luck on the out lap we could maybe even have been one place higher. Sebastian [Vettel] looks to have a pretty clear advantage, but we’ve got lots of fresh tyres for tomorrow so a podium is definitely the target.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:

How was qualifying for the team?
We have mixed feelings today. It’s unfortunate that Kimi had a problem with his back which caused him quite a bit of pain and affected his performance, whilst Romain enjoyed a pretty much perfect day after all the car troubles he had yesterday. FP3 went well for him, then qualifying went completely to plan. We’re very happy with third on the grid and looking forward to a strong race tomorrow.

What’s changed with the car to make it qualify better here?
We knew the last two races would be difficult for our car and so they proved to be, but we were expecting better performance once we got to the higher downforce tracks such as Singapore and this has also transpired.

What are the strategic permutations tomorrow?
Our long run pace was very good yesterday with Kimi second on pace only to the Red Bulls. Sebastian [Vettel] will be hard to beat as he’s in very good form, but there’s no reason why a podium for Romain is not possible and we have seen some storming drives through the field from Kimi in the past too. We could be in for an exciting and rewarding race.

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