'A pretty okay day' was how Kimi Raikkonen summed up Friday practice for the F1 2013 Chinese Grand Prix, even if he did finish proceedings second quickest, only 0.152 seconds off Felipe Massa.
Raikkonen was only eleventh in the first session, but did enough in FP2 to post a 1 minute 35.492 second lap, which was enough for him to split the two Ferraris.
Despite that though, the Finn was keeping his feet firmly on the ground and admitted he still had work to do to get his Lotus E21 set-up to cope with the medium compound Pirelli tyres.
“If you look at the lap time it looks to have been a pretty okay day. For sure there are things we have to improve and you never know what will happen tomorrow but it's a reasonable start to the weekend,” the ice-man summarised.
“We seem to be happy with the soft tyres and maybe not as happy with the harder ones. [But] we've still got time to improve and we're certainly not struggling so it could be a good weekend.”
Team-mate Romain Grosjean meanwhile was ninth in FP1 and twelfth in FP2, his best effort a 1m 36.963s. The Frenchman ran with the new exhaust system in morning, but reverted to the older one in the afternoon for comparison. He also tried out a new front wing, but has still to find the sweet-spot.
“Today was not so easy for me and I'm still looking for the right setup,” he conceded. “We now have a lot of data though, to help find the extra performance we want.”
“The new front wing helps, so that's a step in the right direction. In Malaysia we developed the car as the weekend continued and there are of course a few things we can change overnight. It's a new day tomorrow and we'll hopefully be able to have the car as I'd like it...”
“We're reasonably happy with what was a fairly normal Friday for us,” added Lotus trackside operations director, Alan Permane. “Kimi's pace looks strong and he felt he could have gone faster on his flying lap.
“Romain's lap time is not representative after he got caught up behind Lewis [Hamilton] during his option run. The grip level between the two tyres through certain corners is quite noticeable and – as we saw during winter testing – the lifespan of the soft tyre could be a talking point. There's no doubt it's the tyre for qualifying, but making it last in the race will be a challenge.
“Overall we're pleased with the car in terms of pace, high fuel performance and tyre preservation; hopefully we can look forward to a strong weekend ahead.”