The Final Countdown – Brazilian GP, Saturday 24 November
Kimi Räikkönen bounced back to P9 on the grid for tomorrow’s Brazilian Grand Prix after missing most of this morning’s running due to an engine failure early in the session. Despite a minimum of set-up time and a wet start to qualifying, Kimi progressed through to the top ten with relative ease.
Romain Grosjean demonstrated fine pace in the morning, but contact with the HRT of Pedro de la Rosa in the Q1 session meant he was unable to set a representative time and will start the race from P18 on the grid.
Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05. Q: P9, 1:13.298. FP3: P24, No Time Set
Of course we expect to do better but it’s been a tricky weekend. If I could have just done a few laps this morning it would have made things much easier, but after the engine problem I couldn’t complete any running and with the different temperatures from yesterday it was hard to know what would be the best setup. So I guess it was good to get into Q3 after all the issues; it means we got something out of today when it could have been even worse.
Romain Grosjean, E20-03. Q: P18, 1:16.967. FP3: P5, 1:13.420
Unfortunately there’s not much to say. I stayed behind Pedro [de la Rosa] during his flying lap to not disturb his time, but then when we got to the straight I tried to get past and he just didn’t see me. I braked as much as I could but it was too late; he moved across, there was contact which broke my front wing and that was my afternoon ruined. To be honest I’m pretty upset about it; of course, every driver is out there fighting for position but pulling that kind of move when the car behind is clearly faster is just pointless. The car felt very good this morning and we should have been fighting for the top five not struggling to get into Q2. There’s a lot of work to do now to get close to where we should be, but we know the pace is there so hopefully we can still bring home some good points.
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“We’re confident in the pace of the car in both wet and dry trim.”
How do you rate Kimi’s qualifying performance?
Kimi has suffered a terrible weekend of unreliability with an ignition coil fault in FP1 followed by a blown engine in FP3. His only full session came in FP2 on Friday where we saw significantly higher temperatures, so to put the car inside the top ten was a great effort. What’s more, he only completed a single run in Q3 at a time when the track was not at its quickest, so we believe there will be even more to come from him in the race.
Romain obviously starts out of position; what can he do from there?
There’s potential for a strong result from Romain tomorrow. Although he starts down in P18 after an unfortunate incident with Pedro [de la Rosa], the car underneath him is certainly much quicker than those around him whatever the conditions may be and he plenty of fresh tyres to help him through the pack. There’s no reason to believe he won’t be challenging for a solid points haul tomorrow and that is undoubtedly our aim.
What are your thoughts on the inclement conditions predicted for tomorrow?
There was a light shower before qualifying today and our forecasts suggest that any rainfall tomorrow will be of a similar intensity rather than that of the heavy downpour which seems to be imminent this evening. We’re confident in the pace of the car both in wet and dry trim and have opted for a setup which keeps the potential weather variations in mind. It’s looking like being an intermediate start, but you never know what can happen here and there have been some spectacular storms in the past. Either way, we’re prepared for whatever the skies may throw at us.