Kimi Raikkonen has expressed dissatisfaction after qualifying 6th for the Hungarian Grand Prix, three places behind team-mate Romain Grosjean who has appeared as the faster of the two Lotus drivers all weekend. The Finn is still optimistic ahead of the 70-lap race, after qualifying 5th in the race last year and eventually finishing 2nd.
Despite the high ambient and track temperatures witnessed so far this weekend, Kimi Raikkonen has been unable to excel behind the wheel of his Renault-powered E21 machine unlike team-mate Romain Grosjean. Whereas the Frenchman has topped the timing sheets and looked a big threat to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s dominance, Kimi Raikkonen has struggled to produce similar lap times. This weekend will see the Finn strive to record his 27th successive points finish in the sport, despite visibly struggling in comparison to his team-mate.
“P6 is not ideal, but it’s better than we have seen sometimes so we’ll try and see what we can do tomorrow.” Explained Kimi Raikkonen, after being out-qualified by Romain Grosjean for the second time this season. “It hasn’t been the easiest weekend for me so far. Maybe the new tyres are a bit different – especially on the front – so it’s been hard to find a good setup. We’re getting there little by little and the car was definitely better in qualifying than at any other point this weekend. Obviously P6 is not ideal, but it’s better than we have seen sometimes so we’ll try and see what we can do tomorrow. It’s not so easy to overtake here, but we have seen in past years that if you can run with the tyres well you can make a lot of places, so let’s see what we can do.”
Although passing is notoriously difficult around the Hungaroring, Kimi Raikkonen is fully aware of the skills required to progress up the order. The Finn has finished in the points at every race since the Bahrain Grand Prix last season, and is a master on gradually rising through the order during the opening laps of a race. Whether the 2007 World Champion will be able to repeat his competitiveness from last season’s Hungarian Grand Prix will be an interesting factor throughout the race.
For the second time this season, Romain Grosjean has managed to out-qualify his vastly experienced team-mate. The Frenchman is highly optimistic ahead of the race, and is fully aware that a competitive result is on the cards. However, the 27-year-old is equally aware that the likes of tyre degradation and traffic could well hinder the team’s progress, despite the car’s promising pace throughout the weekend.
“It’s been a good weekend so far with the car consistently showing strong pace.” Enthused Romain Grosjean, “Setting the fastest time in practice this morning was a good sign, and the car was handling really well throughout each qualifying session. Lewis [Hamilton] set a very quick time, but we’re not too far from Sebastian [Vettel] and anything could happen in the race depending on the tyres. I think tomorrow will be very open and a lot will depend on strategy, traffic and things like that, so if we can put everything together there’s the strong possibility for a good result.”
Lotus enjoyed a highly fruitful German Grand Prix last time out around the Nurburgring, with the duo eventually finishing 2nd and 3rd after initially starting from 4th and 5th. But with the Hungaroring’s Monaco-like tendencies, a decent start from both drivers will be the number one priority.
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