August 24th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Lotus will be praying for the rain to stay away ahead of tomorrow's Belgian Grand Prix, after struggling to 7th and 8th on the grid in a wet final part of qualifying this afternoon. It seems the Lotus is very quick around Spa-Francorchamps in the dry, but not so good in the wet.
In today's qualifying session, Raikkonen was fastest in the dry Q2, but could only manage eighth fastest in Q3, just behind team-mate Grosjean, when the rain returned after abating during Q1. Raikkonen said after the session that his car performed well in the dry, but not so well in the wet:
“When it was dry in the second qualifying session we were fastest, so if it’s dry tomorrow we should be okay for the race; even though we will not start from a great position. The last qualifying session was wet and our car does not give its best in these types of conditions. Any lap which came right at the end of the session would have helped, but if it stayed dry it would have helped more. Tomorrow is another day so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
Grosjean explained the difficulties of qualifying in changeable conditions: “It wasn’t an easy session today with the changing weather and while it’s good to be in the top ten, it wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for. It was a big challenge to know what condition the track was in, to make the right decisions at the right time and to adjust the speed according to the weather. At the end of qualifying you needed to be on the on track at the right time."
Grosjean seemed unsure about his inability to match Raikkonen's Q2 pace when the track was dry. He said after the day's proceedings, "’ll work with the engineers later to assess why Kimi was a bit quicker in the dry, where we can improve in the wet, and options in terms of strategy. I’ll give my best in the race tomorrow.”
Lotus may well be in luck regarding the weather. Current weather forecasts show that rain is expected in the region on Sunday afternoon, but only from about 5pm, which is after the race is scheduled to finish. But this is Spa-Francorchamps, which is notorious for producing unpredictable weather. If today's weather is anything to go by, the race could be an interesting and strategic affair.