Kimi Räikkönen qualified P4 ahead of tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix. Warm, dry conditions remained throughout the day at the Suzuka circuit, with changing wind direction a factor throughout proceedings.
Kimi Räikkönen, E21-05
Q: P9, 1:31.684
FP3: P8, 1:32.946
“The car has felt much better here than it has in recent races; even if we don’t have a better position on the grid for tomorrow. A small mistake on my quick lap cost me a little bit of time and it’s very close here, so a small amount lost can mean quite a few positions dropped. We’ll have to see what happens in the race, but the car has certainly been more to my liking this weekend so the position on the grid is not a drama.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “We’re now very happy on both tyre compounds”
How was qualifying for the team?
Today went reasonably to plan with both drivers in the top ten for tomorrow’s race. It was a very close qualifying session so to have Kimi start P9 is no big drama; especially as we know how well he can work through the field in race conditions.
How much progress has been made since yesterday?
After missing some long runs on Friday, we spent more time on race preparation during morning practice and managed to unlock some extra pace in the car – especially on the primes – so we’re now very happy on both compounds. Yes, we did struggle with the hard tyres yesterday, but we’ve made a significant setup change which has certainly been beneficial in this area. Both drivers are much happier with their cars.
What are the strategic permutations tomorrow?
The weather forecast looks fine, while the wind – which is often a factor here – looks to be coming from a similar direction to today although maybe not as strong. With that in mind – added to our pace on both tyre compounds – we’re confident we can come up with a good strategy for a strong result.