Lotus: Top five is a realistic target in qualifying

4 October, 2013

Romain Grosjean ended the first day of practice for the Korean Grand Prix with the sixth fastest time whilst team-mate Kimi Räikkönen placed eighth in Yeongam, South Korea.

Both drivers completed their Friday programmes as scheduled, with Kimi’s crew having a busy lunchtime repairing his E21 after an excursion into the barriers at the end of the first practice session.

While Kimi was unhurt in the incident, the damage incurred by the car necessitated the replacement of the front and rear wings, as well as suspension components on both left-hand corners of the car.

Technical programme notes:

  • Kimi’s car spent additional time in the garage at the start of FP2 as his crew completed the repairs necessary after contact with the barriers at the end of FP1.
  • Pirelli’s Medium [white] tyre was used in the morning, with the Medium and Supersoft [red] compound used in the afternoon session.

What we learned today:

  • The E21 demonstrated strong potential on both varieties of tyre, with a smaller difference in performance between each compound compared to that seen in Singapore.

Kimi Räikkönen, E21-05

  • Free Practice 1: P8, 1:40.677, 15 laps
  • Free Practice 2: P8, 1:39.757, 33 laps

“Obviously it didn’t help that I destroyed part of the car this morning; maybe I ran out of talent there! It didn’t cause too much damage and the car was fine for the second practice, even if the guys had quite a hurry to fix it. They did a good job and we managed to complete everything we wanted today. The car feels quite strong – especially on the long runs – so that’s good news for the race. On the short runs it wasn’t exactly as I wanted, but we still have some time to make improvements there.”

Romain Grosjean, E21-04

  • Free Practice 1: P7, 1:40.396, 19 laps
  • Free Practice 2: P6, 1:39.226, 34 laps

“My first two runs this morning weren’t perfect, so we decided to change a few things during the break but that didn’t exactly go to plan either. Finding the right balance for a full lap here is quite tricky as the different sectors are quite unique from each other, but eventually we returned to a more conventional setup for a run on the option tyres and the car felt much better. This circuit is a bit more front limited which doesn’t particularly help us, but hopefully the track evolution will bring it towards us a bit more tomorrow. Half a second to the leaders is a bit of a gap and they look pretty quick, so I think top five is a realistic target in qualifying, but of course we’ll do our best to catch them.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “It was a fairly routine Friday aside from Kimi’s small off this morning which looked a lot worse than it was, resulting primarily in some front trackrod and rear corner damage for us to repair. We lost some time at the start of the second session whilst the rectification work was completed, but this didn’t impact on our programme today. We completed long runs with both cars in the afternoon to give us plenty of data for analysis ahead of Sunday. As illustrated a few times, the track was quite slippery to start the weekend, which is something we expect to see improve throughout tomorrow and Sunday. The tyres are behaving as expected, with a smaller performance difference between the two compounds than what we saw in Singapore, which is in line with our predictions.”

Subbed by AJN.


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