Romain Grosjean took fourth position whilst Kimi Räikkönen set the tenth fastest time in qualifying for tomorrow’s Korean Grand Prix. Both drivers gain a grid position thanks to a penalty for Mark Webber, meaning Romain starts from third and Kimi ninth.
Romain progressed through the first qualifying session using only the medium compound tyre, enabling him to have two runs on new super soft tyres in Q3. Kimi was fastest in Q1, but suffered excessive understeer on his solitary flying lap of the final session to leave him tenth.
Kimi Räikkönen, E21-05 Q: P10 (Starts P9), 1:38.822 FP3: P6, 1:38.701
“I made a mistake on my only set of new tyres in the final qualifying session so my lap wasn’t fast enough for a better position, which eventually meant I ended up tenth and will start from ninth position tomorrow. We’ve had a bit of understeer in the car so I’ve struggled a little all weekend. If you look at the long run pace yesterday we should have a stronger race, but obviously we have to see how the weather turns out. We hope to do better tomorrow.”
Romain Grosjean, E21-04 Q: P4 (Starts P3), 1:37.531 FP3: P8, 1:38.857
“Our aim was to be up there fighting with the Mercedes today and that’s exactly where we were. The Red Bulls were always going to be quick, so to be reasonably close to them in terms of the times is not too bad. Gaining a place on the grid just because another driver has been penalised is not how you want to move forwards, but I’ve had to cope with it before myself and it’s part of the sport. Of course, it will be an advantage for us as it means we’ll start on the clean side of the track. Tomorrow will be interesting in terms of what effect the tyre degradation has, but our race pace looked strong yesterday so we’re aiming for a good result.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director
How was qualifying for the team?
We’re very happy with Romain’s qualifying position after a textbook performance through all three sessions with everything going absolutely to plan. He soaked up the extra pressure to get through the first session using only the medium compound tyre and the benefit of doing that was having two sets of the super soft in the final session. Kimi didn’t have the luxury of two runs in the final session, and unfortunately his crucial lap didn’t quite come off as planned. As ever, he will be a formidable force in the race so we’ve got good expectations for tomorrow.
What are the strategy considerations?
It’s a circuit where you can overtake with DRS; not the easiest, but certainly not the hardest. That said, tomorrow’s race will be about tyres – in particular the front right which has a very hard time – so managing the wear and performance will be an important consideration.
What do we think looking to the skies?
The threat of storms has certainly abated somewhat since the beginning of the week, however I think we can still expect to catch the outskirts of the bad weather meaning we could see some rain overnight and early tomorrow morning if not for the race itself. Of course, this is something we’re monitoring closely.
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