SILVERSTONE, UK, June 29th, 2013 (F1Plus / Graham Keilloh) - Kimi Räikkönen won the opening round of the 2013 F1 season for Lotus, and while he remains in third place in the Drivers’ Championship table, many have detected a gradual slide away from competitiveness by the outfit in recent races. And in the qualifying session for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone there was little sign of an upturn, as he and his Lotus team achieved the modest result of Räikkönen starting in ninth, with Romain Grosjean qualifying marginally quicker and will start in eighth (both were moved up a place subsequently by Paul Di Resta’s misfortune).
And while Räikkönen admitted afterwards that the result was "not ideal," both the team’s drivers are confident of a stronger race than qualifying.
Räikkönen said: "We’ll go into the race wanting to get a better result than we did in qualifying. Usually this is what happens for us and hopefully that is the case again tomorrow."
The Finn also believes that he and his team mate Romain Grosjean got something close to the maximum out of the car in qualifying: "It was a close qualifying session between both of the team’s cars so I think we both got pretty much all there was from the car today. It’s not ideal as we’d like to be nearer the front of the grid, but it is what it is."
Grosjean concurred that the race should be stronger for the Enstone cars, noting that the E21 is more competitive on the hard tyres, which all cars must run on at some point tomorrow: "Whilst we were very quick on the hard tyres at the beginning of qualifying, we weren’t as competitive on the mediums. I don’t know if it’s the weather or something else, but we weren’t as good on them as in free practice this morning meaning we didn’t have enough to qualify further up the grid. We are working hard and in the right direction, but the tyres are still playing a key part."
The recently-embattled Grosjean also declared himself "quite satisfied" with his qualifying performance.
It was also a historic day for Lotus as it used its passive drag reduction system for the first time in a qualifying session, on Räikkönen’s car. The system is essentially a passive F-duct, using a fluid switch to direct air to stall the rear wing when the car reaches a certain speed, and it’s had a lengthy gestation period as it’s close to a year since it was debuted in a practice session (in the German GP weekend last year). It’s since been confirmed that Räikkönen will use it in tomorrow's race.