Lotus drivers looking for improvement
20 April 2013 – Lotus drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean were in a despondent mood in the aftermath of a difficult qualifying session for the Bahrain Grand Prix, with the pair once again needing to fight their way back up the order on Sunday afternoon after failing to capitalise on signs of front-running pace earlier in the weekend.
Having topped the timesheets in Friday’s second practice session, Räikkönen had looked on course to challenge for pole position, but made little headway in the top-ten shootout and eventually wound up in ninth-place, with the Finn the last of the timed runners. However, the 2007 World Champion benefits from a grid penalty handed out to Lewis Hamilton following the Mercedes driver's gearbox change, and starts Sunday afternoon's race from eighth position.
"It wasn’t the easiest qualifying session after a weekend which hasn’t been the easiest so far either. Yesterday it was difficult at times to find the balance with the car and I found that again today," admitted Räikkönen. "This morning it felt good and we didn’t do too bad in free practice, but we didn’t quite get it right this afternoon. My lap wasn’t great, but it’s a long race so we’ll just have to see what we can do tomorrow."
Meanwhile, after being narrowly eliminated in Q2, team-mate Grosjean was left to bemoan a strategy call that left him with just one timed run, and believes that his 11th place starting position is not an accurate reflection of the true speed of the E21 chassis.
"It’s disappointing to miss out on Q3 but it’s one of those things," he said. "There weren’t any issues, we just tried to be a little too brave by doing just one run and unfortunately it didn’t pay off.
"On the positive side, we’ve found a lot of performance compared to the first three races and our pace on the Primes in Q1 looked very strong. We qualified in similar positions last year and came away with a double podium, so it’s still all to play for."