October 4th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Kimi Raikkonen's first practice session came to an abrupt end when he crashed into the wall separating the pit lane entry from the track at high speed. He was unhurt and, fortunately, the accident did not aggravate the back injury that hampered his Singapore Grand Prix weekend.
Raikkonen was able to take part in second practice, due to some swift repair work from his Lotus team. and completed 33 laps on his way to 8th fastest in the session. In the first session, Raikkonen was also 8th fastest, and in each session he was just over a second off the front-running pace.
Raikkonen said of his eventful Friday, “Obviously it didn’t help that I destroyed part of the car this morning; maybe I ran out of talent there! It didn’t cause too much damage and the car was fine for the second practice, even if the guys had quite a hurry to fix it. They did a good job and we managed to complete everything we wanted today. The car feels quite strong – especially on the long runs – so that’s good news for the race. On the short runs it wasn’t exactly as I wanted, but we still have some time to make improvements there.”
Romain Grosjean finished both Friday sessions ahead of Raikkone, which has not happened all that often in their time as team-mates. Grosjean was 7th quickest in FP1, three tenths quicker than Raikkonen, and in FP2 Grosjean was 6th fastest, half a second clear of Raikkonen and just over half a second off Lewis Hamilton's leading pace.
Despite his strong day, Grosjean did not seem to happy with how his practice went. He said afterwards, “My first two runs this morning weren’t perfect, so we decided to change a few things during the break but that didn’t exactly go to plan either. Finding the right balance for a full lap here is quite tricky as the different sectors are quite unique from each other, but eventually we returned to a more conventional setup for a run on the option tyres and the car felt much better. This circuit is a bit more front limited which doesn’t particularly help us, but hopefully the track evolution will bring it towards us a bit more tomorrow."
Grosjean was, however, cautiously optimistic about his chances of a strong qualifying position. He said:
"Half a second to the leaders is a bit of a gap and they look pretty quick, so I think top five is a realistic target in qualifying, but of course we’ll do our best to catch them.”