July 6th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Lotus drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean delivered their strongest combined qualifying effort of the season today in Germany. Kimi Raikkonen set the fourth fastest time in qualifying, with Romain Grosjean a season-best fifth.
Lotus appeared to struggle in the early part of qualifying, but found their feet towards the end of Q2 when the track temperature rose a bit and the wind dropped. Raikkonen felt he could have qualified third if not for traffic on his out-lap in Q3 preventing him from warming his front tyres adequately. Grosjean experienced similar tyre warming issues which cost him time in the first secftor of his fastest lap.
Grosjean has visited the podium just once so far this season, in Bahrain, and will want to take advantage of his fifth place grid position and convert it into a podium finish. Kimi Raikkonen won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix but has struggled to match that performance since. Raikkonen has not been able to finish higher than fifth in the last three races, a situation he needs to amend with haste if he is to continue to feature high up on the championship points table. Raikkonen is currently third in the championship, 34 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel.
This is what the drivers had to say after qualifying today:
Kimi Raikkonen: “My car was okay today, but in my Q3 lap on the new tyres I struggled to get the fronts up to temperature which meant I lost quite a bit of time in the first sector; probably because there was traffic on my out lap meaning I couldn’t push as much as I wanted. For sure it didn’t help and we probably should have been P3 today, but P4 is still a pretty good place to be for the race.”
Romain Grosjean: “P5 is a pretty good result, but to be honest I’m a little disappointed with my fastest lap as there were definitely a few tenths lost in the first sector. We struggled a little getting the front tyres working this morning but the car felt really good during qualifying and we improved with every lap. It was a strong performance for the team with Kimi P4 as well, so we’re happy to be back at the front after paying a few unwanted visits to the lower positions recently.”