Kimi Räikkönen qualified seventh and Romain Grosjean eighth in today’s resumed qualifying session for this afternoon’s Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park. With an initially wet but rapidly drying track, both drivers progressed through the Q2 session using Pirelli’s intermediate tyres. The top ten determining Q3 session saw all competitors start on intermediates before moving to the supersoft dry compound.

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus F1 E21
Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus F1 E21

Photo by: XPB Images

Kimi Räikkönen, E21-03 – Q3: P7, 1:28.738
“It was an okay qualifying session. We had just one lap on the dry tyres and I got a bit sideways at the end on a damp patch which meant I lost some time so that was a bit disappointing. The car seems to be working well. It had the speed, but when you have only one lap on dry tyres on a damp circuit setting a fast lap is not the easiest thing to do. The weather seems to be changing very quickly, but we’ve seen that before in Melbourne. It’s the same for everybody and it will be in the race too.”

Romain Grosjean, E21-01 – Q3: P8, 1:29.013
“That has to be one of the trickiest qualifying sessions I’ve ever had; the delay overnight then really mixed weather today made it a big challenge. Unfortunately we only got one flying lap on the dry tyres in Q3, which was a shame as it’s hard to know the limit in these kind of drying conditions. I had a small lock up into Turn 3 which lost me quite a bit of time so it could have been a bit better, but the main thing is we have both cars starting in the points positions. The race is long and it looks like being dry, so let’s see what we can do from here.”

James Allison, Technical Director: “There’s nothing to suggest we shouldn’t have a strong race.”

How did we perform in qualifying – part two? Reading a drying track like we had today is always very difficult. There was the speed in the car to do better had there been more constant conditions.

What’s our potential in the race? We’re more than adequately placed to put in a good showing this afternoon. We’ve shown well on heavy fuel in pre-season testing and the start will be interesting on the supersoft tyres.

What about the weather considerations? We’re expecting it to be cool and dry. The temperatures will make graining an ever present threat, but there’s nothing to suggest we shouldn’t have a strong race.

Lotus F1 Renault