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Australian GP: Qualifying notes - Lotus

NEWS STORY
16/03/2013

The Melbourne skies offered up their famed four seasons in one day to interrupt and delay qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix. An eventful day at Albert Park saw Romain Grosjean top the times in FP3, then set the third fastest lap in Q1 before the remainder of qualifying was postponed. Kimi Raikkonen went fifth fastest in FP3 and eleventh quickest in the Q1 session.

Kimi Raikkonen: "It wasn't easy with the traffic, people going off and the yellow flags but we went through to the second qualifying session tomorrow so it's not all bad. The car doesn't feel too bad in the wet - it's an improvement on where we were last year for sure - but today the challenge was finding some clear space on track. The session being delayed until tomorrow was a shame but it's the same for everyone."

Romain Grosjean: "The day started pretty well; it's the first time I've topped an official practice session and I have to say a big thank you to the team for their hard work since yesterday. We took a different direction with the setup and it's clear we made the right decision. It's frustrating to delay the rest of qualifying, but there were some good things for us to take from Q1. It's no secret that wet conditions did not favour our car last year, but from what we saw today there have definitely been some improvements. I'm sorry for the fans as they have been fantastic all week and stuck around despite the weather. We have a big day tomorrow and it looks like staying dry, so hopefully we can put on a good show for them."

How did the team fare in the limited dry running today?
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: "The changes we made to Romain's car allied to the revised aerodynamic package clearly made a difference which was highlighted by him setting the session's fastest time before the rain started. He was very happy with the improvement and is as content with his car as Kimi is with his. It's been fun today reacting to the different weather conditions.

How about in the rain?
AP: We're in good shape. We've made some improvements to our wet setup following lessons learnt in pre-season testing which have certainly worked. It's a shame that we can't finish qualifying today, but it's absolutely the correct decision; it was too wet.

What are the particular considerations for running qualifying and the race in one day?
AP: It doesn't change things too much if everything goes well in qualifying, but if there is a lot of work to do on the car between qualifying and the race then it's going to be a busy day.

What are your thoughts in terms of strategy for tomorrow?
AP: In terms of the weather it looks like tomorrow should be dry, in which case the supersoft is the faster qualifying tyre. That means the top ten starting on the supersoft and working to maximise its potential at the start of the race on high fuel and a newly washed track surface. The medium compound will be the preferred race tyre.

Are we feeling optimistic heading into the race?
AP: We've looked good come both wet and dry so far so there's no reason to think otherwise.

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