European GP - Qualifying
Romain Grosjean went fourth fastest whilst Kimi Räikkönen was just eight thousandths of a second behind with the fifth quickest time in a searing qualifying session on the streets of Valencia for tomorrow’s European Grand Prix.
Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05. Q: P5, 1:38.513. FP3: P3, 1:38.759.
“It was very close in qualifying, especially in Q2, so it’s good to be fifth on the grid. The car felt good. If we could have improved just a little bit on my last lap then we could have gained a couple of places, but it is an improvement on last time out so I’m very happy with that. We found a few good things with the setup this morning to make the car easier to drive. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. The car usually goes well in the race when it’s hot, so let’s see what we can do.”
Alan Permane, Director of Trackside Operations:
“We’ve come from much further back on the grid than P4 or P5 and finished very well.”
How do you assess today’s qualifying performance?
“We’re very happy with today’s performance and both drivers have done an excellent job. Fourth and fifth positions on the grid are excellent places to start and we know the E20 has demonstrated very strong race pace at the majority of circuits this season. I’m sure tomorrow will be no exception.”
Has there been a particular focus on qualifying this weekend?
“We haven’t done anything radically different from our approach at previous Grands Prix. We’ve certainly had a smoother weekend so far than we did last time out in Montréal, and we seem well suited on the soft tyres. We’ve looked at the data and given greater consideration to qualifying pace, but our race preparations remain the same.”
What are the strategy considerations for tomorrow?
“We’ve come from much further back on the grid than P4 or P5 and finished very well, so we have good confidence heading into tomorrow’s race. That said, overtaking is very difficult here even with DRS, so we’re not expecting an easy race from that perspective. It’s likely to be a very hot race which will give the tyres a hard time and we’re confident in those conditions. It’s open for a one, two, or three stop strategy tomorrow, so let’s see what happens.”