Kimi Räikkönen and Jérôme D'Ambrosio will start the Italian Grand Prix from P7 and P15 respectively at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza tomorrow. Jérôme set the sixteenth fastest time today but gains a position thanks to a penalty for Pastor Maldonado, while Kimi notched the eighth quickest lap but also gains a place courtesy of a penalty for Paul di Resta.
Despite not dazzling on paper this afternoon, the team is confident that the E20's downforce levels and efficient tyre usage will bring a stronger result in the race.
Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05. Q : P8, 1:24.855, Grid P7. FP3 : P8, 1:25.255 "We didn't have the speed today but at least we are in the top ten. We've been in more or less the same position all weekend so today's pace was not a big surprise. It's a long race and usually we are a bit stronger in race conditions. It is possible to overtake here so let's see what happens tomorrow. "
Jérôme D'Ambrosio, E20-03. Q : P16, 1:25.408, Grid P15. FP3 : P17 1:25.973 "I have mixed feelings really to be honest. I progressed through to Q2 but it's frustrating not to have done a bit better as I'm really close in the second and third sectors but I've struggling a bit in the first since yesterday.
About 60-70% of the difference to Kimi is lost there, so there's a lot of time to be found in just two corners ; we need to work on that for tomorrow. There's a lot to take in for me this weekend so it's not too bad, but I would have liked a bit more."
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director : "P6 was our target ; we missed it by half a tenth."
How do you assess today's qualifying performance? "We're a little disappointed with where we are on the grid for tomorrow's race, as P6 was our target with Kimi's car and we missed that by just half a tenth. Kimi had Fernando [Alonso] ahead of his for his last run, which should have given him a nice tow.
Unfortunately though, Fernando was not fast on that lap and we were too close to him in the Ascari chicane which cost about a tenth and a half. That's qualifying sometimes."
What can be achieved in the race? "We're confident that - with the amount of downforce we have on the car - we can have a strong race. Our tyre degradation is generally less than some of our rivals so that should assist us too. We're pretty confident we can put in a decent performance and score some good points."
How was Jérôme's first qualifying session for the team? "It's been a steep learning curve for him and he's done a good job. It's going to be a difficult race for him tomorrow with the low downforce specification on the car, especially pushing through the chicanes in this configuration. We hope that his progressive improvement over the weekend so far will continue through the race, as anything can happen tomorrow."
How do the different tyre compounds perform here? "Both compounds are very close together. The medium slightly had the edge for qualifying today, yet it also showed pretty low degradation when we used it for long runs on Friday."
Source: Lotus F1 Team