May 24 2013 Latest news:
Michael Bailey , Formula One correspondent
Friday, May 25, 2012
Lotus driver Kimi Räikkönen has high hopes for another strong finish at this weekend’s iconic Monaco Grand Prix, even though practice was far from easy.
In the topsy-turvey world of Formula One in 2012 the Hethel-backed constructor has managed to be relatively consistent, and while a win has yet to arrive Lotus sit in a healthy third in the constructors’ championship.
Romain Grosjean proved the E20’s pace again in free practice on Thursday, while a steering problem limited Räikkönen running.
But the Finn is still confident heading into the race drivers want to win more than most.
“Of course it (the limited running) is not helpful, but that is why we have practice sessions to see if we have some issues,” the 2007 world champion, told Autosport.
“Usually, when you have some problems and you don’t get running in the first one, then you have weather like this in the second one. So it is a bit more painful.
“I didn’t go many laps in the dry – but the car in the wet was OK and everyone did the same lap time. We just have to fix a few small things and I think the car is OK if we get the tyres working in the right way.”
Räikkönen mastered the streets of Monte Carlo during his first spell in Formula One and although more running would certainly have helped iron out any creases from his time away, the Finn admitted there would have been little point in running at all.
“There was no point to try it like it was,” he said. “We made some new steering here, because usually it is a bit better if you have faster steering, but unfortunately it didn’t work as planned. So we couldn’t really try it and we had to change.
“There were too many things to change and then you have to take the whole front end off, and they did not have time enough.
“I didn’t get many laps in the dry but if you compare what Romain did, it seems to look pretty good. We are probably in a similar position compared to the others as we are at other circuits.”
Qualifying for the race takes place on Saturday lunchtime, before Sunday’s race.
Five different drivers – all for different teams – have taken a victory apiece in 2012’s five races to date.
Last time out, in Barcelona, Räikkönen led Lotus took third and fourth while both Lotus drivers made the podium in Bahrain, in the previous round.