Romain Grosjean reckons there is no chance of catching Red Bull during the Italian Grand Prix weekend despite his Lotus team ending up second-best in Friday practice.
Grosjean and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen were equal in the practice two times, within 0.04 second of Mark Webber’s Red Bull. But Webber’s pacesetting team-mate Sebastian Vettel was a further six tenths faster.
Asked if he thought Red Bull could be matched at Monza, Grosjean replied: “No, they are uncatchable.” He said the champion team appeared to have found good solutions to its previous issues with pace at low-downforce tracks.
“They are quick, it is the same story as Spa,” said Grosjean. “They can run a very low rear wing level and the diffuser seems to be very good. They generate downforce in a different way and it seems to work well with their car.”
Raikkonen was more optimistic. Despite being surprised that Lotus was as high as third and fourth given how the car felt, he predicted that Red Bull might be reeled in.
“We had some issues the whole day in certain places with both cars so I’m surprised a bit to be in that position,” said Raikkonen. “But the gap to Sebastian is quite big. But we see many Fridays when the gaps [to Red Bull] are much bigger than on Saturdays or Sundays so we know we can improve and be a bit closer tomorrow.”
While Grosjean stuck with the standard-spec Lotus, Raikkonen tried the new long-wheelbase version, but said he felt little difference.
“We now have to make a decision about whether or not we are going to use it tomorrow, but I think there is hardly anything in it,” said the Finn.