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Lotus looking for more pace for qualifying

Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean had a decent day in Sepang on Friday, but admit that they need more pace and fewer glitches when they head into qualifying tomorrow.
"It was an okay day, but we still have work to do," was Kimi Raikkonen's opinion of how Friday practice sent at Sepang International Circuit ahead of Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix. "I hope we will make some progress tomorrow as the car is quicker than we've shown."

Raikkonen was seventh fastest in the morning session but problems with his KERS meant that he slumped to 15th spot in the afternoon. "Having an issue with the KERS in the afternoon was frustrating but I'm sure we'll have it fixed for tomorrow."

"Kimi's KERS was not playing ball for most of the second session which meant his pace was not fully representative," stressed the team's technical director James Allison

At least Lotus appeared to be getting on top of the issues with the steering that knocked Raikkonen's confidence going into his F1 return in Australia last weekend. "The steering was a small improvement but we are still working in this area," he said.

Romain Grosjean had another promising day in the cockpit, finishing fifth in the morning and ninth in the afternoon session, but he was nonetheless hit by gremlins of his own.

"Today went pretty well with a couple of small interruptions to my sessions," said Grosjean. "In the morning there was something not quite right with the rear of the car which was soon sorted, then in the afternoon I picked up a cut on one of my tyres. Neither was a major issue."

Allison said the morning problem had been down to "an incorrectly seated wheel nut" and he described the day overall as "somewhat scrappy" but said that "the positives are that the E20 is working reasonably well.

"We have good base set-ups for both drivers," he pointed out. "Tyre management looks OK despite the hot conditions. The pace of the car on high fuel loads looks promising."

Both drivers were happy with the track layout, and not too worried by the oppressive heat and humidity of Malaysia.

"I feel fine in the car in the hot conditions, and the race will take place later in the day so I don't expect that to be a problem," was Raikkonen's view. "The track is exactly as I remember it and I hope for a better qualifying than we had in Australia. I'm looking forward to racing here."

"This track feels fantastic in a F1 car!" enthused Grosjean. "We're not quite there with the set-up, but we have plenty of data to work through. I think we've got a good idea of where to go for qualifying tomorrow."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
22.03.2012- Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 Team E20
Romain Grosjean (F) Lotus F1 Team
23.03.2012- Free Practice 1, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 Team E20
23.03.2012- Free Practice 1, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E20
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