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30 July  2012

Hungarian Grand Prix 2012 - comments from Lotus F1 Team

Friday 27 July 2012

Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean took to the Hungaroring circuit today for the first practice sessions ahead of Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix. With a wonderfully warm morning and marvellously mixed conditions in the afternoon, the team assessed a number of aerodynamic developments.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director - Technical programme notes :
Pirelli’s medium compound tyres were used in the morning.
The medium, soft and intermediate compounds were used in the afternoon.
We spent the morning tuning the new aerodynamic device with various improvements after initial running in Hockenheim.
Romain had a normal programme in the morning, and an interrupted afternoon after an off which damaged his bodywork.

What we learned today :
The new aerodynamic system is now working well and will have its race debut in the near future.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05
Free practice 1 : P8, 1:23.983, 24 laps
Free practice 2 : P2, 1:22.180, 20 laps

Kimi : “It was a normal Friday for me. We did the normal things and tried to make the car as quick as it can be. We were second fastest which was good, and we’ve managed to improve the setup on my car over the last few races so I’ve been pretty happy with it. We’re just making small improvements, but we’re making them all the time and going in the right direction. It’s only Friday, but we’re hoping for another good day tomorrow. ”

Romain Grosjean, E20-04
Free practice 1 : P5, 1:23.633, 24 laps
Free practice 2 : P9, 1:22.922, 12 laps

Romain : “Not the best day we’ve had but not the worst either. The car didn’t feel quite as I like it, similar to how it felt in Hockenheim, which made things a bit tricky. I made a mistake running wide on the exit of turn seven in the second session which meant I touched the wall, so a big apology to the guys for that. On a more positive note we now understand a few things which need improving in terms of setup, so hopefully tomorrow these will make a difference and I’ll have the confidence to push a bit harder and show the true pace of the car.”

James Allison, Technical Director : “We conducted valuable analysis of our latest aerodynamic developments on Kimi’s car this morning which help bring it a step closer to deployment in a race sometime in the future. Romain was uncomfortable with his car today which is something we will try to understand this evening. Kimi was pretty happy overall, even this morning when we weren’t running the native downforce settings for this circuit. With the Hungary setup in the afternoon, Kimi was comfortable, quick, and happy with both specifications of dry tyre. Whilst we haven’t conducted our usual long runs today it looks like both compounds should be reasonable race tyres.”

Saturday 28 July 2012

Romain Grosjean secured a best-ever front row starting spot with the second fastest time in qualifying for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix, whilst Kimi Räikkönen will start from fifth position after a searing hot session at the Hungaroring.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05. Q : P5, 1:21.730. FP3 : P6, 1:21.953
“Not a bad qualifying performance for sure, but it’s a bit disappointing I didn’t go faster when it mattered. The car feels good, but I didn’t get the crucial lap together at the right time. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.”

Romain Grosjean, E20-04. Q : P2, 1.21.366 FP3 : P7 1:22.110
“Qualifying was very tight and it was difficult to see where we would end up so on the front row is fantastic. We came here after a difficult weekend at Hockenheim and to be honest I didn’t get off to the best start yesterday. We worked hard to improve things overnight and the car felt much better in practice this morning. I’m very happy and just a little bit surprised to be P2 on the grid. Today’s job is done, let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director :
“It’s great to be on the front row.”

How do you assess today’s qualifying performance ?
“It’s been a good day. It’s great to be on the front row with Romain. We’d like to have seen Kimi a little further up the order – especially as his Q2 time was better than he achieved in Q3 – but overall it’s been an excellent weekend so far ; let’s hope that continues tomorrow. Our target has been to improve our qualifying performance ; we’ve clearly demonstrated that today.”

What can be achieved in the race ?
“We’re starting from the front row so there is good potential. It’s a difficult circuit to overtake – one of the hardest next to Monaco and Singapore. A good start will clearly be very important. After the start, even with the DRS, the straight is not long enough to mount an overtaking bid unless a car ahead is suffering from tyre degradation or something else to slow them down.”

How do both tyre compounds perform here ?
“Both the medium and soft compounds have exhibited pretty low degradation so we have no worries or concerns about durability, even with high temperatures.”

Does the weather forecast throw any curve balls ?
“Conditions similar to those we’ve seen over the last couple of days have been forecast. There is potential for some rain, but it’s so hot here there could be thunder showers like we saw on Friday. We’re ready for whatever the weather throws at us.”

Sunday 29 July 2012

Lotus F1 Team scored a fantastic double podium in Budapest this afternoon, with second place for Kimi Räikkönen and third for Romain Grosjean in a searing hot and searing paced Hungarian Grand Prix. The team returns to third position in the Constructors’ Championship, just one point off second. Despite his strong result, Kimi drops to fifth spot in the Driver’s Championship ; just one point off today’s race winner Lewis Hamilton who is now fourth in the standings. Romain remains in eighth, equal on points with seventh placed driver Jenson Button.

Both drivers started on scrubbed soft compound Pirelli tyres, changing to another set of scrubbed softs and finishing on new sets of the medium compound tyres.
Romain stopped for tyres on laps 19 and 39. Kimi on laps 20 and 45.

Kimi Räikkönen, P2, E20-05
"It’s a shame we couldn’t quite get the win but it’s a good result for the team and we’ll keep pushing to make that final step. My start was not too bad but then we had some issues with the KERS and I lost a place to Fernando [Alonso]. When we got it working again we were stuck in the pack so it was a bit frustrating, but once we were in clear air we could push and it looked like we could make up a few places in the second stops. The team said it would be very close with Romain, but it was okay in the end. We managed to catch Lewis [Hamilton] but it was impossible to pass.”

Romain Grosjean, P3, E20-04
“It’s a good result for the team, but to be honest I’m a bit disappointed. We had a good battle for the lead with Lewis [Hamilton] all through the first two stints, but then I got stuck behind Michael [Schumacher] who didn’t respect the blue flags at all which cost me a lot of time. Because of this I lost a place to Kimi, and at the same time a possible chance to fight for the win. It’s very hard to overtake here ; every time I came close to someone in front I would lose a bit of front end grip which made it impossible. Still, that’s racing and we’ve take home a lot of points for the Constructors’ Championship which is a real positive.”

Eric Boullier, Team Principal
"Both cars on the podium end a pretty good weekend for the team. For everyone back at Enstone we must pay credit as they work so hard for results like this, but seldom get to taste the champagne at the track. I’m very happy that Romain came back after a tough weekend in Germany and I’m very happy to see Kimi fighting for the win. Our new approach to qualifying is delivering. We qualified better this weekend and we chased the leader of the race for many laps. On a different track layout which allows overtaking I think we could have won this race.”

James Allison, Technical Director
“It was an excellent race from both our drivers, from the E20 and from the whole team. We made very strong progress with a good haul of Drivers’ and Constructors’ points today. We’re only just past the halfway mark in the season so it’s not fantasy to think that we’re still in the hunt in both championships. The general trend is of our car getting stronger and I hope that we can press that home in the coming races.”

Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader
“A fantastic double podium today and very important for the championship. We’ve worked very closely with the chassis team all weekend to deliver the correct engine response into and out of the many corners of the Hungaroring and the package has looked quick all weekend. It’s very positive that we are able to score results on all types of tracks, from the high speed circuits such as Hockenheim to the low average speeds of the Hungaroring.”