Kimi Raikkonen is aiming for a podium finish in tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix, after yet another decent qualifying performance from the Finn around Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya. The 33-year-old will start the race from 4th position, alongside Championship leader and Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel.
Since winning the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen has remained one of the most consistent drivers on the grid after finishing 2nd at both the Chinese and Bahrain Grands Prix. The Finn only sits ten points behind Championship leader Sebastian Vettel, and is aiming to continue his competitive streak during the 66-lap Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday. Since making his return to the sport with Lotus last season, the 2007 World Champion has managed to finish in the points at every race since last year’s Chinese Grand Prix.
Kimi Raikkonen firmly believes he managed to utilize the full pace of the Renault-powered Lotus E21 during the all-important qualifying hour, which was ultimately dominated by the Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. In recent races Mercedes have been a strong force in qualifying yet have struggled during the race, a trait Kimi Raikkonen will understandably be hoping continues tomorrow as he strives for another podium finish.
“That was more or less all we could do today.” Explained Kimi Raikkonen, “I didn’t make any mistakes on my fastest lap so that was pretty much all there was to come from the car. I wouldn’t say it was a perfect lap, but I don’t think we would have been much higher up the order if it had been. The Mercedes, as we’ve seen before, seems to be pretty fast in qualifying but hopefully in the race we can turn it around. Our race pace has been pretty good all year so let’s try and get on the podium. I’ll have to make a good start, then let’s see what happens.”
In comparison to Kimi Raikkonen, team-mate Romain Grosjean believes he could have produced a much better lap during the top ten shootout. The Frenchman made a minor error through Turn 1 on his flying lap, which saw him eventually back off and conserve his tyres for the race. Last time out at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Romain Grosjean returned to the podium for the first time since the Hungarian Grand Prix last year and is understandably hunting for what would be his fifth podium finish this weekend.
“We did a good job today throughout qualifying but on my last lap I made a mistake into Turn 1, so I decided to back off and save the tyres.” Said Romain Grosjean, “Otherwise, I think we could have done a bit better and maybe sit one or two rows further towards the front. I was happy with the car and all the work we’ve done since Friday. For tomorrow, we will see what happens as the competition is very tight. As we have seen, conditions are variable this weekend and once more the tyres should be key.”
Despite initially qualifying 7th for the Spanish Grand Prix, Romain Grosjean will start tomorrow’s race from 6th after Felipe Massa’s three-place grid penalty for blocking Mark Webber throughout the latter stages of qualifying. The Frenchman will therefore start alongside the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso for the race, in what should be a thrilling 66-lap event.
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