Lotus confident thanks to continued strong pace
Kimi Räikkönen topped the times on the first day of running as the Malaysian GP weekend got underway at the Sepang International Circuit. Kimi set a 1min 36.569secs lap in an afternoon session which was interrupted by a minor rain shower, while Romain Grosjean was sixth fastest.
The team evaluated new front wings on both cars with a new exhaust and related bodywork also featuring on Kimi’s car.
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: "We evaluated a new front wing on both cars and a new exhaust and outlet package on Kimi's car in both sessions. Pirelli’s hard (orange) compound tyre was used in the first session, the hard and medium (white) dry tyres as well as the intermediate (green) in the afternoon. The second session saw rain-interrupted long runs on both tyre compounds."
"Throughout the car, the E21 ran reliably, giving strong performance on all tyres and in all weather conditions while the updates seem to work well and will remain on the cars for the rest of the weekend".
Kimi Räikkönen, E21-03: “It was a pretty good day. We tried changing a few things on the car and made progress with where we wanted to be at the end of the sessions. We had some running in the wet which you often get around here and the car feels fine. We ran pretty heavy today so I don’t know how we’ll be when everyone is light for qualifying, but I’m happy with where we are and expect we’ll be reasonable tomorrow.”
Romain Grosjean, E21-01: “We’re still working on the setup of the car as it’s not quite right for me and it’s difficult to understand why exactly. The new front wing does feel better than the one before so that helps. Kimi was running an updated aero package which looks to be an improvement so we know there’s more pace to come in that area, but there are still things we can do with the current specification once I get everything working for me. It was pretty hot out there – quite a contrast to Melbourne – but I felt comfortable and I’m looking forward to making some improvements tomorrow before we head into qualifying.”
James Allison, Technical Director: “I’m happy with our day’s work. We came here this week seeking reassurance that our car would be equally as competitive in a very different set of conditions to what we saw in Australia, and the early indications are that it looks reasonably useful. The upgrades we’ve trialled today also appear to be working well. Although both drivers ran the new front wing, Romain was at somewhat of a disadvantage in not having the latest exhaust variation and related bodywork on his car, so he can take heart from a healthy position on the time sheets. The only slight interruption to proceedings was a compromise to our long run programme once the rain arrived, but this actually proved to be pretty useful in itself as we now have a better understanding of the crossover point for the intermediate tyres. Overall it’s been a very productive day.”