Romain Grosjean is happy with the car's new exhaust but Kimi Raikkonen says it loses them straightline speed

Grosjean says new exhaust is a good step while Raikkonen laments slow straightline speed

By Mike Wise at Buddh International Circuit.   Last Updated: 26/10/12 4:14pm

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For the second time in as many races, both of Lotus's drivers found themselves learning a new track on Friday as Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean got to grips with the Buddh International Circuit.

The pair ended the day fifth and ninth fastest respectively, with Grosjean also experiencing the team's new Coanda-style exhaust for the first time.

Although the Frenchman said he immediately felt the difference, it did not stop him from taking to the scenery.

Grosjean had a spin in the fast series of bends which run down towards the long right-hand corners of Turns 10 and 11.

Speaking after the session, Grosjean said the constantly changing levels of grip on the dusty track made it difficult to find the right set-up.

"Not an easy track to learn to be honest. I had a lack of running this morning which didn't really help to get confident in the afternoon but after the long run I think I know the track much more, which will help for tomorrow," he said.

"It's quite hard to set up the car, the track has been changing a lot through the day - from zero grip in the morning to a much better level in the afternoon.

"The track is changing a lot, so you do something for the morning and then it goes in the afternoon. It doesn't work and you would like to go back to the standard baseline from the morning.

"For tomorrow, we need to take some risks on the set up."

Grosjean, who was not the only driver to have an off in that section of the track, explained that he "just got understeer".

"There's quite a lot of blind corners. Turn 2 is completely blind and then you go 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 which is really high-speed corners on the apex," he explained.

"It's really quite quick, so you don't want to make mistakes there but you really want to push to find the limits.

Of the new exhaust, he added: "It feels pretty good. It's a good step for the future we can get from that. You can quite easily feel the difference.

"The traction is better, braking is normally a little bit better as well. So it's helping us get more downforce and that's basically what we want."

As has been their tendency so far this season, Lotus's long-run pace appeared more promising than their qualifying speed.

However, both drivers also complained of a lack of straightline speed, which may hamper progress in the track's two DRS zones on Sunday.

"For sure we can improve on one lap but we are not far away from our maximum speed," said Raikkonen.

"The car is working quite well, especially on soft tyres. The hard tyres took a little bit to get working.

"The circuit is not as grippy as it was at the last race, that's probably the biggest difference. Our biggest problem is that we lack straightline speed."

Raikkonen admitted a slight loss in power caused by the new exhaust layout was likely a factor but expected Lotus to claw it back.

"That's a part of it, you lose quite a bit. But hopefully at the next races we can improve and make some modifications and get some more out of it. But we'll have to wait and see," he added.

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