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Lotus: We can look forward to a strong weekend ahead

Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Räikkönen set the second fastest time of the first day during the opening sessions for round three of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship; the Chinese Grand Prix. Kimi lapped the Shanghai International Circuit in a time of 1min 35.492secs during a soft tyre run in the afternoon session. Romain Grosjean was hampered on his flying lap using the softs; ending his second session with the twelfth fastest time. Romain conducted comparison work on the team’s latest exhaust package and ran with a new front wing, while Kimi trialled new rear floor aero parts.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director – Technical programme notes

  • We evaluated a new front wing on Romain’s car.
  • Kimi ran with new aero components on the rear floor.
  • Pirelli’s medium (white) compound tyre was used in the first session, the medium and soft (yellow) tyres during the second.
  • Romain ran with the latest exhaust package in the morning, reverting to the older configuration in the afternoon for comparison purposes.

What we learned today:

  • The new front wing appears to be beneficial and Romain will continue with it for the rest of the weekend.
  • The data from the rear exhaust package appears to confirm the benefit of the latest specification.
  • The car looks good with both tyre compounds.

Kimi Räikkönen, E21-03
Free practice 1: P11, 1:38.790, 16 laps
Free practice 2: P2, 1:35.492, 32 laps

Kimi: “If you look at the lap time it looks to have been a pretty okay day. For sure there are things we have to improve and you never know what will happen tomorrow but it’s a reasonable start to the weekend. We seem to be happy with the soft tyres and maybe not as happy with the harder ones. We’ve still got time to improve and we’re certainly not struggling so it could be a good weekend.”

Romain Grosjean, E21-01
Free practice 1: P9, 1:38.398, 17 laps
Free practice 2: P12, 1:36.963, 31 laps

Romain: “Today was not so easy for me and I’m still looking for the right setup. I ran with the new exhaust package in the morning and the older one in the afternoon to try to help find where improvements can be made. We now have a lot of data to help find the extra performance we want. The new front wing helps, so that’s a step in the right direction. In Malaysia we developed the car as the weekend continued and there are of course a few things we can change overnight. It’s a new day tomorrow and we’ll hopefully be able to have the car as I’d like it for a strong result this weekend.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “We’re reasonably happy with what was a fairly normal Friday for us. Kimi’s pace looks strong and he felt he could have gone faster on his flying lap. Romain’s lap time is not representative after he got caught up behind Lewis [Hamilton] during his option run. The grip level between the two tyres through certain corners is quite noticeable and – as we saw during winter testing – the lifespan of the soft tyre could be a talking point. There’s no doubt it’s the tyre for qualifying, but making it last in the race will be a challenge. Overall we’re pleased with the car in terms of pace, high fuel performance and tyre preservation; hopefully we can look forward to a strong weekend ahead.”