Lotus drivers optimistic ahead of qualifying
20 September 2013 – Lotus drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean ended Friday practice for the Singapore Grand Prix in a positive frame of mind, with both believing that the team’s E21 chassis has more pace in hand ahead of Saturday’s crucial qualifying session.
With the outfit’s 2013 challenger well suited to the hot and humid conditions observed on circuit, Grosjean ended the first evening of practice in fifth, despite missing considerable amounts of track time due to a steering rack problem. Overcoming his technical troubles, the Frenchman explained that tyre degradation levels had been less of an issue than originally anticipated.
"We had a lot of problems today with the car which meant I didn’t complete many laps," he began. "It wasn’t the ideal situation, but nevertheless the baseline we have here is pretty good. Hopefully we can get on top of the issues we had and have a strong car for qualifying as track position is pretty important here.
"Tyre degradation was better than we expected with the super soft performing well, so we’ll have to look closely at the data for the rest of the weekend."
Räikkönen meanwhile set the fifth fastest time in the first session, but could only manage eighth in the second after being baulked by traffic while attempting a flying lap on Pirelli’s Super Soft rubber.
"It was a pretty decent day," he said. "The car felt okay, but I had some traffic on my fast lap on the softer tyres so I wasn’t able to set a faster lap. The car isn’t too bad and there are still some places where we can make it faster. The times don’t matter on Friday so we’ll see what happens tomorrow."