Lotus F1 Team
Kimi Räikkönen – “The Race is Where it Really Counts”
After a mixed day for the team in China, Kimi remains philosophical about the weekend ahead at the Shanghai International Circuit, and looks forward to the all-important event on Sunday – race day
Kimi, it seemed like the car was not quite how you wanted it today; can you tell us a bit more?
It’s not often you have a perfect car on Friday and there are certain things we need to improve which is perfectly normal. It doesn’t really matter if you are first or last in testing because that’s exactly what it is; testing. We’ve been trying a few upgrades and some different set-ups to see how the car behaves which was the main purpose of today, so I wouldn’t read too much into it.
How would you summarise the two sessions?
We managed to put in a good number of laps, not so much this morning but this afternoon. Of course, we’d ideally like to be nearer the front but like I said it’s just testing. The changing conditions held us back a bit in FP1 and unfortunately we lost a bit of time making set-up changes in FP2, but towards the end we decided to stick with what we were running which gave us some good track time. We have a lot of work to do for sure, but it’s been the same at each race weekend this season so it’s not unexpected.
Do you think the weather today has had a real impact on the set-up of the car? A few drivers were complaining of the front tyres fading quickly…
Maybe, but the weather is the same for everyone – if it rains it rains, if it’s dry it’s dry. There were a few cold days during testing and we had no problems there. It’s just a matter of finding the best setup. The tyres felt ok, but we didn’t do any particularly long stints so it’s hard to tell.
How did you find the upgrade package for the car?
The conditions in FP1 made it hard to see where we are with the new upgrades which was a bit of a setback. When you make a few changes to the car it’s not as easy to go out and push straight away like other teams are able to, but this will improve over the weekend. The car didn’t feel too different from where we’ve been at previous circuits, but obviously the lap times are not as competitive yet. We’ll be looking at the data overnight and hopefully we can find some more speed tomorrow.
As you’ve said it would be nice to sit further up the order even at this early stage in proceedings; what are your ambitions for this weekend?
If you just go by the lap times and nothing else then we haven’t looked so fast today, but the race is where it really counts. For sure we have some work to do and changes to make, but this is normal. For the race I think we need to be aiming at improving on the results we’ve had so far, as we’ve been strong all year but not managed to get the points we deserved.