20 April

Kimi Räikkönen – “I Think the Grid will be Very Tight Again”

Fresh from the cockpit, Kimi gives us his thoughts on tyre degradation, track conditions at the Bahrain International Circuit, and his predictions for qualifying on Saturday.

Kimi, first of all it seems tyre degradation has been a key factor already; how did you find it out there today?
It's probably higher than we've seen in other places but of course it's the same for everybody. It makes things a bit tricky and managing the tyres will be important, but we'll just have to work around it. The soft tyre is clearly faster over a single lap but in terms of a race distance I think it's too early to say which will be more useful; we'll have to look at all the data to see how it will play out.

Is there anything you can do from inside the cockpit to help preserve the tyres?
As a driver there are some things you can do to help keep the tyres in good condition in terms of your driving style, but it's mainly about the setup of the car. Unfortunately when they go they go, and there's not a lot you can do about it. No matter how you drive you can't suddenly make them last a significant amount longer than they're designed to; small differences over a long run have more an effect, but it's not like night and day.

The team had some issues with the tyres on the cooler days in China; are the conditions here better suited to the E20?
I think we prefer to have these kind of temperatures, but then again so will most teams. In China we had a few issues getting the tyres working when it was colder, the main thing now will be almost the opposite; managing them over the longer runs. We would rather have it this way though, for sure.

What about the track itself? Do you think there will be much surface evolution over the weekend?
The track was surprisingly good, even from the early laps. There wasn't much change during the day so I think it will stay reasonably stable through the weekend. The main thing that could affect it is if the wind changes direction.

A look at the time sheets seems to suggest there is still work to be done here; are you feeling confident for tomorrow's qualifying session?
Our pace today doesn't look that great if you look at the times, but then we were in a much worse position this time last week and still had decent speed so I wouldn't ready too much into that. I think the grid will be very tight again like in China, but we'll do our best as always and see where we end up.

posted at 22:50:00 on 04/20/12 by webmaster - Category: races