Kimi Raikkonen believes the relatively high track temperatures in Germany helped Lotus to produce its best Formula 1 qualifying performance since May’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Raikkonen qualified fourth at the Nurburgring, 0.494 seconds off Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton’s pole position time, and suspects that he could have ended up third but for losing time in the first sector thanks to a lack of tyre temperature.
“It has been good,” said Raikkonen when asked about Lotus’s form. “It helped that it was a bit more hot.
“I think we had the chance to be in third place but I had some traffic on the out-lap and didn’t really get their [the tires] performance to work as we wanted to.”
Even though the 2007 world champion is happy with the performance of the car, he stressed that there are no guarantees this strong form will continue on Sunday. But he did concede that Lotus is traditionally stronger in the race than in qualifying.
“It is better than the last couple of races, but it’s not so easy that now we should be more close to the others [in the race] than before because we are further up,” said Raikkonen. “That [performing stronger in the race] is what normally happens, but it can be a different story.”
GROSJEAN THINKS REVISED TIRES A FACTOR
Teammate Romain Grosjean, who qualified fifth just 0.067sec behind Raikkonen, believes getting the Pirelli rubber into the right operating window is key to the team’s form. He suspects that the change to Kevlar-belted rear rubber for this weekend has helped Lotus.
“I think it’s a question of tires — it’s always about that,” said Grosjean when asked to explain Lotus’s improved form. “If you get them in the right window, everything seems to be easy.
“The first good point here is that we don’t have only one lap to get the time, you have a few laps to get an idea of the car balance which is helping quite a lot to set up the car.
“The first time we tested the new rear tires in Canada, I liked them, they are more race tires than the previous ones. The fronts are always a bit tricky so hopefully when we go back to last year’s construction it will help.”