Rain fails to frustrate Kimi
Finn unable to assess Lotus upgrades
By Mike Wise at Hockenheim. Last Updated: 21/07/12 11:08am
Kimi Raikkonen was a centre of attention in Friday's opening practice sessions but he played his usual straight bat when asked to describe the eye-catching upgrades on Lotus's car.
While team-mate Romain Grosjean lapped a wet Hockenheim in the team's older E20, the Finn took to the track in a revamped chassis that featured a new rear wing as well as distinctive intakes either side of the roll-hoop.
The new wing features a modified DRS system with most eyes drawn to the intakes which, coupled with an exit above the chassis' rear crash structure, appear a further attempt to stall the rear wing.
However, the effectiveness of both changes remains largely unknown owing to rainy conditions. Raikkonen managed only 14 laps during a morning session that was plagued by showers. Indeed Lotus have confirmed that the air-channelling system will not be raced over the weekend as it remains an experimental concept.
The 2007 World Champion was unable to get in any dry running at all after lunch, when the rain returned with an even greater intensity.
Raikkonen gave an economical response - "I don't know" - when asked whether he thought the upgrades had brought an improvement.
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Yet with more rain forecast for Saturday, the Finn denied he felt frustrated at being unable to put the upgrades through their paces.
"It's the same for everybody. It's not the first race where we try to do the test but we cannot with the conditions we get," Raikkonen said.
"We cannot change so there's no point to worry about it. Whatever we do it's not like we can turn the rain off. That's part of the whole thing."
When asked to elaborate on his day's running, Raikkonen could only reply that "we tried a few things and that's about it". However, he was more expansive on Lotus's season to date.
The German Grand Prix marks the halfway stage of the season and with Lotus currently third in the Constructors' Championship, Raikkonen, who himself lies fifth in the drivers' standings, appears content with how things are going.
The 32-year-old, who returned to Formula 1 this season after two years spent rallying, said: "For the team it's a great thing but I think we could have done a bit better in certain places. But then we could have gone in a different direction also.
"I mean it's difficult; it's always easy to say that we should have won or been better in that certain race or situation but it's very easy to say afterwards. We try to choose the best possible decision and sometimes it works and sometimes not, and you have to learn if you make mistakes.
"But we learn a lot from the first part of the season and we can improve."
However Raikkonen, whose best results since his comeback were second places in Bahrain and Valencia, denied the suggestion that Lotus were unlucky not to have actually won.
"Luck is nothing to do with it," he responded. "It's not lucky or unlucky if something goes wrong; we've done something wrong ourselves. If something breaks it's nothing to do with luck: someone has done a mistake and the part or whatever is not strong enough.
"It's the same if I make a mistake. It's not unlucky. That's racing. We know there are certain areas to improve, I can improve and that's how it goes."