Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Buddh International Circuit, 2012

Raikkonen: Qualifying improvement needed in 2013

2012 F1 season

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Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Buddh International Circuit, 2012Kimi Raikkonen says qualifying will be a key area for improvement in his second season with Lotus next year.

In a Q&A released by the team Raikkonen said: “This season has shown that you have to be on first two rows to be able to win every time.

“It?s important to improve our grid positions for 2013. That?s one of main targets for me.”

Raikkonen believes he has defied the doubters on his return to Formula One this year: “I think there were a few people who had doubts about how I would perform after being away for a while.

“Personally, I didn?t feel I stopped racing at all. I may have been doing something different with rallying, but after coming back to Formula One I immediately felt fit enough ?ǣ and fast enough ?ǣ to start racing again.

“My hunger for winning is exactly the same as always and I think I?ve shown that I?m capable of fighting for victories. Obviously there have been none so far this year, but we have come close a few times and for sure we?ll keep on trying for as long as it takes to start winning again.”

Earlier today Lotus confirmed Raikkonen will see out the second year of his contract with them in 2013. Raikkonen is third in the championship at present and believes he can do better next year:

“I have been very happy with the team; how they work, how they approach the races and how they invest in developing the car. I think with the progress behind the scenes at Enstone we could be fighting for the podium even more often next year and also be able to make a stronger challenge for the championship.”

“This season has shown me that I still love racing as much as I ever did,” he added. “Obviously, I would have not come back to the sport if I did not feel like this. Driving a Formula 1 car still gives me the same inspiration and I feel the same passion for it.”

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Keith Collantine
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31 comments on “Raikkonen: Qualifying improvement needed in 2013”

  1. Kimi has changed…………………

    1. he nvr likes going into details, but he seems to be more open this time around!! good change. Im pretty much give up on this season, cant wait for next season to come!!!

  2. Now he kinda sounds like Heidfeld. Good in races, but issues in qualifying and often outqualified by his rookie teammate. Never winning, but reliably finishing (until that last season with the cars catching on fire).

    1. often??? the last time romain outqualify kimi was in suzuka when kimi spun on middle sector despite being 3 tenth faster than romain on first sector by pushing too hard!!

      I think he meant the car as a whole need to improve in qualifying pace in order to fight with top 3!!

      Lotus has been focus on race pace all year long, unwilling to make the car generate more heat on 1 lap in order to maintain its low tyre deg characteristic on the race.

      1. yes often, the stats say Grosjean outqualified Raikkonen a majority of times. Although I think it’s fairly even now (9 to 8 in Q?) GRO also missed a race remember.

    2. How can you compare Kimi with Nick? Heidfeld has never won a race and would be crushed by Raikkonen if they were driving in the same team. Besides, qualifying was never the strongest Kimi’s ability. He is a racer, not qualifier.

      1. LOL, actually he was a terrific qualifier !! Just a bit mistake prone this year.

        If kimi said he determine to improve, i believe he will!!

        He meant what he said afterall.

      2. I can compare them because I am talented :) Ok I’m playing devil’s advocate here but just looking at the situation, Kimi is not achieving a lot more than Heidfeld could have. People thought Heidfeld would never win. He never had the car to do it either. Maybe once.

        This year’s Lotus is a much more sorted car than last year’s.

        1. comparing what kimi achieved to nick is laughable.

          Nick is mistakes prone in 2011, and he cant score points in regular manner when the car wasnt good in latter races. Something kimi persists after Spa downfall, constantly finished 5th and 6th at worst….and of course, the recently grid position is by far the worst so far he had finished since Canada.

    3. The big difference is Kimi is 3rd in the WDC with the 4th best car, something Nick has never and was never likely to achieve.

      1. Which in turn means that four of the faster cars are still behind him!

      2. 3rd with the 7th best car.

      3. I expect Webber and Hamilton to overtake Kimi. Leaving him 5th. Button as well maybe which would put him 6th.

        The 7th best car thing is a little misleading. That is now. In the early part of the season the Lotus looked competitive with at top. It’s tailing off towards the end and so is Kimi’s championship position. Kimi’s car has also had zero reliability issues.

        Well, in 2007 Nick finished 5th in the championship in the 5th fastest car. Ahead of him were the Ferraris and McLarens, and the BMW never had the top pace.

        1. Worth noting also that all 4 Ferrari and McLaren drivers that year were consistently on form, all trading wins, unlike Massa this year for example.

          1. Those arguments are a bit funny :-)

            So that means that IF Massa was better then Kimi, then Kimi wouldn’t be better than Massa? :-)

            And IF only all the “top” drivers finished ahead of Kimi more often, Kimi wouldn’t seem like a top driver? :-)

            And what if I expect Kimi to win WDC? Does that count the same as your prediction? :-)

            Right in the beginning the Lotus was a bit higher, sure but on other occasions the Sauber has been faster and even the Mercedes, so 7th is a fair estimate I think.

          2. Not just the beginning. If you look at the stats one or the other Lotus has qualified 4th or better like 8 times. Sometimes 2nd or 3rd.

            At occasional races the Sauber, Williams, Mercedes has been faster than anyone :) Let’s just say Vettel’s driving the 7th best car then :)

          3. wonder how blind you are.

            Kimi qualified 3rd in Spa, but his car was nowhere as fast as rbr, mclaren, merc, ferrari and even force india due to low straighline pace in a circuit like spa that house longest straight like Kemmel. Guess where he finished?? 3rd. Would hv been forth had it not been kimi ‘s overtake on schumi through eau rouge. I find it funny you use qualifing as indication of the car performance. Watch more races Tigen, general statement is a testament of your lack of facts in any argument. The team had all the data of nick, they knew his strength, and they wont kick him out had he been any quality that can push the team forward.

          4. Sorry, but I can’t help wondering how your prediction is going? :-P

  3. It´s not only qualifying that needs to get improved, but doing so would boost his chances a lot.
    This season I noticed two areas that Kimi/lotus need to improve:
    1. overtaking – Kimi must be a little more agressive, he was stuck behind slower cars so often this season, if he got to overtake them, more than once he would have had stepped to the middle podium position.
    2. the strategy – only once I can remember a good strategy, it was in Hungary when he stayed longer and gained a lot of positions, in many other occasions the team/driver never made the best calls and were consistently leap frogged by Mclaren, RB and Ferrari. In the first half of the season Lotus was the best conserving tyres and made little use of it.
    Let´s hope that Lotus has a good car next season and kimi can fight for victories, but I´m afraid it will be harder than this year.

    1. 1. When he was stuck behind cars, that cars were Ferrari or Mercedes, which are nearly impossible to overtake on straight line with a Renault engine(even with DRS!!!!!!). And, to overtake them not in a straights is very hard, but Raikko did it in some cases. (see Raikkonen /Schumacher battles and Massa/Raikko, Bahrain). More than that, it’s impossible.
      2. startegy, not good? what strategy? In majority of cases he had the same strategy like others. Same number of pit stops, same tyres at the start. A bad stategy was in China were he lost 12 places!! But in Hungary, he managed to conserve the tyres like nobody did.

      Conclusion: Rai:”Give me more power, I need more power”

      1. As for first point, I think not necessarily so. Red Bull exhibited Renault engine powered can still overtake McLaren and Ferarri – Vettel on Alsonso at Monza 2011 for instance and am sure there were a lot of different cases. Problem would be the package is not fast enough.

        1. We are talking about 2012. 2011 was something different. Monza 2012 Alonso on Vettel in straight. Did you see Vettel overtaking a Ferrari, or Mercedes in straight line? Or Webber? or someone with Renault engine? Nope.

          1. @sorin, well more than couple instances prompts on me even though it does not specifically and exclusively in straight tracks. First one was Vet on MSC at SPA, where VET did catch up several more cars among them I assume there’s Ferarri powered cars too. And maybe Silverstone where Webber flied?

          2. At Spa, Vettel tried to overatake MSC in straights, but he didn’t make it, only after MSC went to pits. Silverstone, was different, Alonso had no tyres anymore, and he was losing 1,2 sec per lap from Webber. And finally Webber overtook Alonso, but this happend in the final laps, so ALL the race Webber was behind Alonso.

        2. In 2011 RedBull had an exhaust system which helped them to be very quick on straights(not only this). This year, that system is banned.

    2. Point 1. Being aggressive destroys the tyres, so even if you make the pass you lose time to every other car a couple of laps later and for the rest of the race.

    3. Kimi is driving to the characteristic of his car. Most of his passes has in fact not been in the DRS zone, and he has made a few great passes this season. The Lotus lacks straight line speed and traction. In the beginning of the year when they where faster it was less of a problem, but the car has been slow since Spa. Red Bull, Mclaren and Ferrari are better cars, it is always going to be very difficult to overtake them when their cars are just plainly better.

  4. People keep on mentioning Kimi’s mistakes in qualifying but he doesn’t really make big mistakes, his only real big mistake has been in Japan where he spun out in Q3. But he also practically had no running during all of the free practice sessions in Japan. The Lotus hasn’t been a strong qualifying car to start off with it is not like Grosjean is accumulating pole positions, the car has only had one front row start for the whole season.
    Kimi has also had other issues in qualifying like a broken Kers, differential problems, a gearbox penalty and at Bahrain Permane himself decided that Kimi should not go out for another run in Q2, which inevitably lead to him falling out of Q2. Falling out of Q1 in Australia was more down to a communication error then Kimi lacking the pace to make it through. I think Kimi has systematically been working on his qualifying, and he has made some improvement. Since the British GP the stats are 5-3 in favor of Kimi against Grosjean. Of course more improvement is always a good thing.

    1. I think his misses in qualy are signs of car being very different on the first few laps, it just not delivering what Kimi knows it can on those opening laps, must be frustrating.

  5. Qualifying well is all good but I just hope they can have a good all-round car…I don’t wanna think this year has been a fluke for them.

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