The grid results mask significant improvements found in the E20 overnight, illustrated by Romain setting the fastest time in Q1 and the fourth fastest time in Q2.
Kimi Räikkönen (E20-05. Q : P12, 1:48.261. FP3 : P5, 1:48.865): "The car was much better overall today than it was yesterday. We were quick with the used tyres but for some reason struggled for grip with the new ones in the second session and we were actually slightly slower. For sure P12 is not the position we wanted ; we don't seem to have the speed to challenge the leaders here but the car is definitely quicker than that. We'll see what we can do in the race."
Romain Grosjean (E20-03. Q : P8, 1:47.788. FP3 : P15 1:50.840): "The result is not as good as we wanted, but this is a very hard track to get right and we've been struggling for ultimate grip throughout this weekend so far, so overall it was good to be in Q3.
After Q1 and Q2 we felt positive but it didn't quite come together in the final session. I pushed a little bit too hard on my last lap ; it felt good in the car, but it wasn't good for my lap time and there was one moment where I lost most quite a lot of time. It was pretty close but I don't think I touched the wall ; I'll have to check to see if the Pirelli tyre markings are still there !"
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: "We'd found a lot of improvements in the car so we're disappointed with qualifying."
How do you assess today's qualifying performance? "We're disappointed with qualifying as we were hoping for a lot better than we achieved. We improved the car dramatically overnight and through today's practice session. Romain was two tenths slower in Q3 than he had been in Q2, but we could all see where most of that time was lost on his lap.
Kimi was slower on a fresh set of tyres than he was on a scrubbed set, but it's not immediately apparent why this was the case. He looked in excellent shape with his scrubbed run."
The car seemed to be better than yesterday - why was this ? "We found a much better setup in our analysis overnight and we continued in that direction through FP3, steadily improving the car with a further step made going into qualifying. Both drivers were pretty happy with the car at the end of practice today."
How do the different tyre compounds perform here? "The super soft compound is a lot faster than the soft tyre and it will need a big difference in degradation for the soft to be the preferred option in the race."
Source: Lotus F1 Team