Room for improvement, but no disaster, was how Kimi Raikkonen summed up practice on Friday for the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Lotus driver, who is currently Sebastian Vettel's closest rival in the race for the F1 2013 Drivers' title, was strong in both sessions today at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, posting the eighth best time in the wet-dry FP1 and the fourth best in FP2, just 0.222 seconds off the pace.
“It was a pretty normal Friday,” stated Finn. “We tried some things on the car, ran with some different tyres and we'll have a look at all the data to see where we think we are. We finished the day not too far off the fastest time, so we can say that the day wasn't a disaster, but for sure there are some things we have to improve with the car which is normal after the first day's running.”
Team-mate Romain Grosjean meanwhile was also on the pace, although after setting the fourth best time in the morning session, a cracked exhaust meant he was unable to post a representative time in the second, leaving him down in 18th.
“Today was okay. It may not look great on the timesheets, but we didn't finish our lap on the medium tyres as I had to come back in,” noted the Frenchman.
“The circuit isn't an easy one to understand in terms of tyre performance as there is a lot of degradation, and of course this morning the weather conditions made things a bit difficult. We completed a good number of laps to collect as much data as possible, so we'll be working on the set-up this evening where we should be able to take some steps forwards.”
“We're pretty happy with today's performance,” added Lotus' trackside operation director, Alan Permane. “Romain's position in the afternoon session is not representative of his potential as a cracked exhaust cost him performance for his run on the softer tyre, but other than that he's comfortable with how his car is performing.
“Kimi was happy with the handling and balance of his car and that's reflected in his pace."
“The morning rain was actually beneficial for us as it afforded an opportunity to run our latest developments aimed at addressing a relative lack of wet weather pace, and we're happy with the progress made in this area,” Permane concluded.