Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean took to the track for the first practice sessions of the fifth round of the 2012 Formula 1 World Championship at the Circuit de Catalunya today in hot and dry conditions. The Lotus F1 Team drivers ended the sessions with the fifth and sixth fastest lap times of the day.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director – Technical programme notes

  • In FP1 we conducted aerodynamic evaluations, in particular of our different front wing specifications and also the latest floor modifications using the hard compound Pirelli tyre.
  • FP2 saw heavy fuel running, focusing on the long run race performance of the hard and soft compound tyres.

What we learned today:

  • Our lower fuel set-up changes have been validated following developments tested in Mugello.
  • The base set-up for the car works well with no surprisess.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-03
Free practice 1: P9, 1:25.285, 29 laps
Free practice 2: P5, 1:23.918, 32 laps

“There were no problems with the car and everything felt good today. We tried a different front wing, but in the car you can’t tell if it makes much difference; that is why the team’s engineers are looking at the data. I felt comfortable and I think the work done at Mugello and in the Windshear test programme have made improvements. We’ll have to see tomorrow how much pace everyone has when it comes to qualifying as that’s when it matters. We’ve been fast everywhere else so far and there’s nothing to suggest we won’t be fast here again.”

Romain Grosjean, E20-04
Free practice 1: P7, 1:25.217, 16 laps
Free practice 2: P6, 1:23.964, 37 laps

“It was a pretty good day today. The weather is fantastic, the car feels great and the lap times were promising; I’m a happy man. The balance felt strong on both tyres and we were able to complete long runs to give us valuable tyre data for Sunday. I’m happy with the performance of the car even when the tyres are nearer the end of their performance life which is a good sign for this weekend. It’s very close of course, so qualifying will be interesting. I can’t wait for tomorrow to come.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“The car looks to be working very well and we’re happy with progress. Our long runs on the softer tyres gave us good data for the race in terms of degradation and how many laps they can last before the performance drops away significantly. From this we’ve had an initial look at our pit stop strategy for Sunday. There were no problems from either car and both drivers were pretty happy with things. Some of work in Mugello concentrated on how we run the cars on lower fuel levels which is reflected by our better lap time performance on a Friday than we’ve seen at some other races.”

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