Kimi Räikkönen will have his first front row start since the 2009 Monaco Grand Prix after qualifying second for tomorrow’s Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit. Kimi set a 1min 34.761secs lap using Pirelli’s soft compound tyre and will start alongside Lewis Hamilton for the 56 lap race. Romain Grosjean was also comfortably inside the top ten, with a Q3 time of 1min 35.364secs placing him sixth on the grid.
Kimi Räikkönen: E21-03
“This is my best qualifying for the team which is good, but of course you always want to be on pole. It’s been quite a tricky weekend so far and we’ve had a few small issues with setup, but it’s always difficult to get things exactly how you want them and the car seems to be working well now. The tyres will of course be the question mark tomorrow; some people are starting on the primes but we chose the strategy we think will work best. Hopefully we can keep managing the degradation well like we have so far this season and have a good race tomorrow.”
Romain Grosjean: E21-01
“Friday was difficult and we missed some time on Saturday morning so it’s been a challenging weekend, but I’m finally back in business. We’ve been chasing some small problems here and there, but the engineers have been working hard and did a fantastic job to get the car to where it is now. My first lap on options in Q1 was actually my first of the weekend with those tyres so we had to guess a little on the set up, but I think we did pretty well. Of course you always want to do better, but overall I’m pleased. The car was much better this afternoon so let’s see what we can do in the race.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
How was qualifying for the team?
We’re obviously very happy with the result today. Kimi has been comfortable with his car pretty much all weekend; not so much this morning when a small set up change was made, but that was reversed and he was back where we wanted to be.
What was the problem with Romain’s car?
Romain had a difficult morning but with no real issues; just circumstantial problems which put things on hold briefly. He went into qualifying with a car that was unchanged from this morning, so bearing in mind his earlier tribulations he did a great job to take P6.
What are the considerations the for race strategy?
We’ve done all our race preparation and run work so we know where we are in terms of both the soft and the medium compound tyres; we’re pretty confident on strategy and looking forward to running a very strong race.
What is possible tomorrow?
From second and sixth anything is possible; we will certainly be pushing to get both drivers on the podium with one of them on the top step.