Formula 1

2011 Indian Grand Prix - Wednesday

LOTUS F1 DRIVERS PREPARE FOR THE INDIAN GRAND PRIX—

Kimi Räikkönen: “We’ll keep pushing” 

Our Finn heads to India looking forward to the cuisine and hoping for a stronger qualifying position

than of late 

What do you think of the Buddh International Circuit?

It’s quite an interesting track; one of the better ones from the modern circuits. It’s quite similar to

Korea; long straights, not terribly challenging corners and hard braking. It’s not as technical as Korea

which was another new track for me last year, but it’s good. It’s always nice to go to a new place like

India. It’s certainly a good track to go fast with a strong car in front of all the others!

 

How was your first – and only – race at the track so far?

It was okay but it could have been better. We struggled for grip over the weekend last year and we

made life difficult with the change of setup before qualifying. After that there was nothing really to do

on Sunday. In the race itself we had enough speed to challenge for the top positions, but we got stuck

behind slower cars and overtaking was impossible. I can remember spending a lot of the race trying

to get past Felipe [Massa] so that wasn’t ideal.

 

Did you get to see much of India?

No, it was my first visit and I spent my time in the paddock and the hotel. We only come to race and

India is a very big country! The thing I like is eating Indian food, which I really enjoy.

 

Japan was quite a straightforward race for you?

It was a pretty normal race I would say and it’s good that we got some points. I had a very poor start

where I left the line with a lot of wheelspin and lost a few places. This wasn’t ideal and it meant I got

stuck in traffic, but I managed to gain some places back later on.

 

You spoke over the weekend of the car feeling more to your liking, which much be a positive

looking to the remaining races of the season?

The car felt pretty strong all weekend and we’ve made good progress with it recently. It’s still not

exactly as I want it and we’re trying to get rid of some understeer which is something I don’t like. In

Japan it was hard to show our real pace at the beginning of the race as I was stuck behind slower

cars for quite a long time. After the final pit stop when I got a bit of free air the car was working much

better. It ran well in the last half of the race and I was very happy with it.

 

We saw some more great overtaking moves from you…

Unfortunately when you don’t have an ideal qualifying it makes life a bit harder on Sunday. It’s not

easy to overtake at Suzuka and we weren’t so fast in a straight line which made it more tricky, but I

got past a few people which was important after the slow start. With Nico [Hulkenberg] I managed to

get a good run on him leading up to the chicane which is what made the difference. We did what we

could.

 

What’s the target for India?

Hopefully we finally get it right in qualifying as the last five qualifying sessions have not been that

great for me. If we don’t, it’s going to be a difficult Sunday afternoon, although of course we’ll keep

pushing. If we do get it right, then we can really go for it!

 

Romain Grosjean: “I’m on a roll right now…”

 

After a Japanese Grand Prix where he led for almost half of the race, Romain Grosjean heads into the

remaining four rounds of the season determined to let the good times roll…

 

Your performance in Japan was pretty fantastic; how are you feeling heading into the

remaining four races of the season?

I’m feeling really good with the car, my confidence is getting higher with every race and I’m very

happy with the team, so I’ll keep working hard to improve the areas that need improving and we’ll

keep pushing for top results right to the end of the season.

 

How good was that race start in Japan?

The start was fantastic; the clutch kicked in, I put my foot down and whoosh! It was superb to go past

both the Red Bulls like that and it’ll be one of my best memories of the year. I saw Mark [Webber] in

my mirrors and started to pull away which was a big surprise in itself, so I was screaming “come on

baby, let’s go!” in the cockpit. After the first lap I honestly thought it was going to be my day, but that

first win will come soon…

 

How wide were you driving your car to try to keep the Red Bulls behind you?

You never want to concede a place, but when you’re leading the race or fighting for a podium position

you can find ways to make your car very wide! Sebastian [Vettel] had a lot more pace than me but we

were able to fight a bit more in the battle with Mark [Webber]. It’s a shame we caught the back

markers when we did as I think we’d have had an even stronger fight if it wasn’t for them.

 

What are your thoughts on the Buddh International Circuit?

I like it. I first visited the track as third driver for the team during the inaugural race weekend in 2011

and was really impressed by the facility, then of course I drove it for the first time last year. The layout

includes a nice mix of corners with a bit of gradient change which is always a good thing. There are

some decent straights with wide corners at the end of them to help with overtaking, although it’s still

not the easiest place in the world to pass somebody. Then there’s the linked Turn 10 / 11

combination, which is a bit like Turn 8 in Turkey in that it seems to go on forever. It’s quite a fun track

to drive.

 

What are your expectations for the Indian Grand Prix?

Our car is really performing well at the moment so I think we could be strong again. It’s fair to say we

struggled there a little last year with finding grip and getting the right setup for the cars, so hopefully

we can perform better this time. The tyre allocation was quite hard for the track in 2012, but this year

it’s softer which should help us and make for better racing.

 

What do you think of India as a country?

It’s certainly a different experience from a lot of the places we visit and it’s great to see a different

culture.

 

Aside from racing what will you be interested in?

I have a great love for cuisine so I’m always interested in local food, and there are so many interesting

dishes, spices and ingredients in India.

 

How much are you looking ahead to 2014?

Right now I’m working on doing the very best I can at each remaining race in 2013 and I think that’s

the best approach for now. As soon as the season’s over I’ll get a little rest and recharge my batteries,

then we’re back to see the new cars launched and to start testing them. It will be a very interesting

challenge with all the new rules that are coming in for next season. A new area is coming for the sport

and that’s always very exciting.