Kimi Raikkonen has explained how Lotus’ lack of pace in qualifying is because Monza isn’t their kind of circuit, after the 2007 World Champion could only manage 11th fastest along with team-mate Romain Grosjean 13th fastest. The Enstone-based outfit are remaining optimistic for the race, but are not expecting any major surprises.
Due to the high-speed nature of the Autodromo di Monza, Lotus were unable to excel during the all-important qualifying hour ahead of the Italian Grand Prix. Despite a strong display of pace during Friday’s two practice sessions, both Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean were eliminated from proceedings after Q2. This was the first time the outfit had failed to progress to the top ten shootout with at least one car since the 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when they were then known as Renault with Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov behind the wheel.
Although Kimi Raikkonen will be eagerly looking to return to the points after retiring for the first time since the 2009 German Grand Prix, the Finn has stated that the team were simply not fast enough to challenge with the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari during the qualifying session. The 2007 World Champion, who has never won at Monza, is remaining confident of an improved performance during the race, but is not expecting any major surprises along the way.
“We were just not fast enough today.” Explained Kimi Raikkonen, after failing to qualify in the top ten for the first time since Singapore last season. “We have been suffering a bit all weekend so far and it was the same today. It just isn’t our kind of circuit and layout where we have to run small wings. The car behaved pretty okay but we just didn’t have the downforce to go fast through the corners with our low drag package. Hopefully tomorrow will be a bit better but I’m not expecting any big surprises. In any case we will do the best we can.”
The Finn’s team-mate of Romain Grosjean was also unable to progress any further than Q2, with the Frenchman struggling with an apparent lack of grip on his Renault-powered machine. The outfit are not hiding from the fact that the fast nature of the Monza circuit does not suit their car, however Grosjean is understandably remaining optimistic for the 53-lap race in the hope of at least a points finish.
“Today was difficult for us as we had no grip.” Said Romain Grosjean, “I was quite surprised at how it went in free practice yesterday, but today was simply a different story. The aerodynamic configuration for Monza isn’t an easy one and it didn’t go the way we would have liked it to go. I hope that we find grip levels for tomorrow and are able to deliver as good a race as we can.”
Like many teams up and down the grid, Lotus would understandably welcome rainfall during tomorrow’s race. If the weather remains dry, then the Enstone-based outfit will clearly continue to struggle on a circuit which clearly does not suit their car. With Kimi Raikkonen 4th in the Championship and 53 points behind Sebastian Vettel, a points finish is imperative for the Finn.
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