Kimi Räikkönen and Jérôme D’Ambrosio took to the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza in glorious conditions today for the first practice sessions ahead of Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.
Jérôme – who is standing in for the team’s regular driver Romain Grosjean whilst he serves a one race ban – notched up a total of 65 laps as he completed his first Grand Prix sessions since the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: "Dry conditions enabled us to complete a full programme today. Pirelli’s hard tyres were used in the morning. Pirelli’s hard and medium tyres were used in the afternoon with long runs undertaken on both."
What we learned today: We’re pretty happy with the car on both low and high fuel. Jérôme acquainted himself admirably on track.
Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05
Free practice 1 : P7, 1:26.046, 25 laps
Free practice 2 : P6, 1:25.504, 42 laps
Kimi: “It was an okay day. We tried a few different things with no issues and I’m happy with the car. Our long run pace was not too bad and we weren’t too far away from the fastest lap set today either.
There aren’t many corners here, but running with low downforce means the grip is not as good under braking and cornering through the chicanes. It’s not easy to get the perfect lap here but maybe we can improve tomorrow ; we shall see.”
Jérôme D’Ambrosio, E20-03
Free practice 1 : P15, 1:27.180, 29 laps
Free practice 2 : P12, 1:26.157, 36 laps
Jérôme: “Today went pretty well overall and it feels good to be back in the car. It’s not an easy task stepping in at the last minute ; there’s a lot to take in and with a low downforce track like Monza it can be quite tricky to find the limit, but we completed a busy schedule and put in a lot of laps which is a good start.
It’s difficult to say where we are right now, but we made steady progress between the two sessions and my aim for tomorrow is to take another step forwards and see where we go from there. So far so good.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director : “It’s nice to have a straight-forward Friday with dry running ; it’s our first for a while ! The lower downforce here means we focused on the various compromises ; getting the car to work in the corners, balancing the need for a soft car to ride the kerbs versus a stiff car to enable high speed change of direction and so on.
We feel we’ve made good progress with the running we’ve had. Jérôme has done a great job ; chipping away at the time difference between him and Kimi without any problems while absorbing all the procedures and information we’ve thrown at him.”
Source: Lotus F1 Team