Kimi Raikkonen believes the change in Pirelli’s Formula 1 tires is to blame for his recent downturn in qualifying form.
The Finn has been outqualified four times in the six races since Pirelli first changed its rubber at July’s German Grand Prix ahead of the final switch to 2013 compounds combined with 2012 construction in Hungary. Raikkonen believes that the lack of front-end bite does not suit his driving style.
“Since we changed the tires, it is more like it was last year,” said Raikkonen. “For me, it was definitely better qualifying on the other tires, they were a bit more sharp on the front end.
“We have got to try to find a way to get it back where we want to be as it has hit us quite hard in qualifying lately. I’m sure we can find something. Usually it seems to turn out to be more normal in race conditions.”
By contrast, Romain Grosjean believes the balance of the modified rubber has helped his qualifying performances. The Franco-Swiss driver has twice qualified third in the last four races, and also believes his improving Saturday form is down to the natural improvement that has been going on since his early-season struggles.
“I hated the first ones [tires] this year,” he said. “Plus since we put the car back on track from Bahrain onward, the qualifying has always been better and better. The first races were like my first testing of the year and after that we found our proper speed and are looking quite good.”
RAIKKONEN VS. GROSJEAN QUALIFYING POSITIONS Raikkonen GrosjeanGermany 4th 5thHungary 6th 3rdBelgium 8th 7thItaly 11th 13thSingapore 13th 3rdKorean 10th 4th