Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean are optimistic they can have a strong German GP
Lotus duo upbeat after improved qualifying performance
By Mike Wise at the Nurburgring. Last Updated: 06/07/13 9:15pm
Kimi blames congestion
Kimi Raikkonen reckons he could have qualified even higher than fourth for the German Grand Prix after a "much better" performance on Saturday.
The Finn said that third place was his for the taking. However, traffic on Raikkonen's final out lap in Q3 left him struggling to put heat in his front tyres.
"I think we had a chance to be in third place but I had some trouble on the out lap with the tyres and couldn't really get the fronts working. We lost about two or three tenths but I think it's much better than it has been," said Raikkonen, who lies third in the Drivers' Championship 34 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel.
Saturday brought warmer temperatures and with race day forecast to be hotter still, the inevitable question arose of Lotus's performance, which usually follows suit.
"I don't know," was Raikkonen's response. "We are more close than we have been and in the race we are strong. It's supposed to be more hot and that's better for us. It's going the right way."
That much has been suspected all weekend, with Raikkonen and team-mate Romain Grosjean there or thereabouts all weekend and also showing good long-run pace on Friday afternoon.
Both drivers have said that Lotus's E21 is well-suited to the 5.148km Nurburgring track and while Raikkonen was ambivalent about the new rear tyre construction Pirelli are running this weekend for safety reasons - "it was more or less the same" - Grosjean said they feel a bit better to him.
The Frenchman, who qualified one place behind Raikkonen, said: "The first time I tested them in Canada, I quite liked them to be honest. I think they're more of a race tyre than the previous one. It's just that the front is a bit tweaky and hard to get the feeling from it."
Like his team-mate, Grosjean is optimistic he can make progress in the race. "I'm going to do my best," he added. "Sometimes we have a very good surprise: the car is amazing and the tyres are reacting well and it's going to be sort of easy to have a good result.
"Sometimes you go into the race and nothing goes right. It's a question mark but from what we have seen so far, there's a good chance it'll work well."
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