Kimi Raikkonen is looking to improve his qualifying performance at the Indian Grand Prix after another difficult Saturday afternoon in Japan. The Finn hasn’t qualifying in the top five since the German Grand Prix in July.
When asked what his aims were for the up-coming Indian Grand Prix, the 34-year-old said: “Hopefully we finally get it right in qualifying as the last five qualifying sessions have not been that great for me. If we don’t, it’s going to be a difficult Sunday afternoon, although of course we’ll keep pushing. If we do get it right, then we can really go for it.”
Raikkonen also shared his thoughts on the Buddh International Circuit and admitted that whilst it is an “interesting” circuit, it isn’t very challenging: “It’s quite an interesting track; one of the better ones from the modern circuits. It’s quite similar to Korea; long straights, not terribly challenging corners and hard braking. It’s not as technical as Korea which was another new track for me last year, but it’s good. It’s always nice to go to a new place like India. It’s certainly a good track to go fast with a strong car in front of all the others.”
The Ferrari-bound driver finished fifth at the last round in Japan, two places behind podium finisher and team-mate Romain Grosjean.
The Frenchman’s confidence is high after his second consecutive podium finish at the Suzuka circuit: “I’m feeling really good with the car, my confidence is getting higher with every race and I’m very happy with the team, so I’ll keep working hard to improve the areas that need improving and we’ll keep pushing for top results right to the end of the season.”
Grosjean had a storming start to take the lead into turn one and thought he was on course for his debut race win. However, he admits that his first lap will be one of his highlights of 2013: “The start was fantastic; the clutch kicked in, I put my foot down and whoosh! It was superb to go past both the Red Bulls like that and it’ll be one of my best memories of the year. I saw Mark [Webber] in my mirrors and started to pull away which was a big surprise in itself, so I was screaming “come on baby, let’s go!” in the cockpit. After the first lap I honestly thought it was going to be my day, but that first win will come soon…”
Looking ahead to the Indian Grand Prix, the 27-year-old believes the Lotus E21 will be well suited to the track: “Our car is really performing well at the moment so I think we could be strong again. It’s fair to say we struggled there a little last year with finding grip and getting the right set up for the cars, so hopefully we can perform better this time. The tyre allocation was quite hard for the track in 2012, but this year it’s softer which should help us and make for better racing.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic