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Lotus preview the European GP

Saturday 16th June 2012

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Lotus preview the European GP

Lotus preview the European GP

Kimi Raikkonen says qualifying will be "very, very important" in Valencia while Romain Grosjean is aiming for another podium...

For all the latest F1 odds on the European Grand Prix, which takes place at the Valencia street circuit, visit Sky Bet.

Kimi Raikkonen
Q: What's your view of the Canadian Grand Prix?
KR: It wasn't a straightforward weekend for us, even though the result was not too bad in the end. It was cold on Friday for practice and we expected rain in the afternoon, so we ran a different programme. Then in qualifying on Saturday I had a hydraulic issue with my car meaning I qualified in twelfth position. In the race, I made up some places but we could have been a few positions higher up if things had gone differently. I got stuck behind slower cars for quite a long time and unfortunately when we made the pit stop we couldn't quite get the jump on them. It's a shame but that's racing.

Q: How was the car in the race?
KR: The car was much better in the race for sure. The hydraulic issue was fixed and we didn't see a return of that problem. Also, the race was much hotter than the days before and we have seen that the E20 works better when it's warm. We've seen the car go well at another different circuit which is encouraging. Let's hope this continues for Valencia.

Q: It looked like you were stuck in traffic at times in Montréal; how frustrating was this, and was overtaking very difficult?
KR: For sure it was frustrating; I never want to be stuck behind another car! We thought it would be okay for overtaking in Canada, but it wasn't so easy in the end. The DRS zone wasn't very long and it didn't last for the whole straight, so it was hard to get a good tow from the car in front. It became even more difficult when the cars in front also had DRS available because they were racing the driver ahead of them. Ultimately, if we had done better in qualifying we wouldn't have had these problems, but that's how it goes sometimes.

Q: Leaving Montréal, what was your overall feeling?
KR: A bit frustrated overall as I think we could have achieved more from the weekend. Still, we gained more points for the championship which is the most important thing, especially with everything so close this season.

Q: Valencia is the third street course in a row, and the fourth so far this season: How does it compare with the others?
KR: Valencia is a street circuit, but the layout is not like Albert Park, Monaco or Montréal. It's definitely the fastest track of these four. It's likely to be hot and we seem to go well in warm conditions so that's what we'll be hoping for.

Q:You seem to have suffered in qualifying for various reasons, and this is another street course where you need to qualify well...

KR: Qualifying is going to be very, very important again here. Obviously, there will be an advantage to starting on the clean side of the track as the streets are only used as a circuit once each year. It's not an easy place to overtake and we'll have to see how much help the DRS will be.

Q: What's the secret to gaining a good result on the streets of Valencia?
KR: Valencia is all about being very consistent. It's so easy to lose time with small mistakes.

Q: We've had seven winners from seven races so far this season; can you make it eight from eight?
KR: I love winning and that's what I'm always trying for. I've never won in Valencia, so it's a good target. Last time I raced in Valencia I finished in third after starting from sixth on the grid which was not too bad.

Romain Grosjean
Q: After that second place in Montréal, how close to your first victory do you think you are?
RG: The gap to the win is not that big. We need to qualify better, that is not our strength this season but we are working on it. I think Friday and Saturday were quite difficult for us in Canada but we have been learning a lot about the car so it's good that we now have that in our pocket for the next races.

Q: You didn't say much about it at the time, but what happened to your foot during the race in Canada?
RG: I had a lot of blisters on the underneath of one of my feet after the race. When you're in the car and the adrenaline is up you don't notice so much, but afterwards it was pretty sore. Luckily Kimi's physio had some blister patches which saved me on the flight back to Paris. It wasn't a big deal.

Q: We know you enjoy street circuits; Valencia is another one of these, and it's likely to be pretty warm too... the signs seem to bode well for a good weekend for you?
RG: It's a good thing to start with for sure. I made my Formula 1 debut here in 2009, so it brings back good memories and it's a circuit I like anyway. There's always a great atmosphere too; the city centre is obviously very close, and the America's Cup harbour is a really nice place to go. The track itself it quite interesting; there are a few second / third gear corners, some high speed sectors, heavy braking zones and usually good weather too so on paper it's a circuit that could suit us quite well. Hopefully this will be the case!

Q: This circuit has quite a rough surface compared to Monaco and Montréal; this has suited the E20 in the past, do you expect the same here?
RG: This is normally a good thing for us. Strategy will be quite different here I think; it won't be one stop like in Montréal that's for sure! It's usually been very hot here in the past so combined with the rough track that's often lead to a three stop strategy. Hopefully we'll have consistent conditions throughout the weekend so we can get as much experience as possible before the race.

Q: You've got a pretty good record here in the GP2 Series; does that give you confidence heading into the race?
RG: I had a podium in the first GP2 race here in 2008 and was leading the second race until somebody took me out! Then I managed to win in 2011, so it's a circuit I'm comfortable with for sure. It definitely helps to know the track already as it usually takes less time to get up to speed and you have a rough idea of where the braking points, turn ins and so on will be. Of course, Formula 1 is always a bit different but at least I have some guidelines going into the weekend.

Q: You're coming off the back of a great result in Canada; what do you think is possible in Valencia?
RG: We have to go into every weekend aiming for a win; approaching a race in any other way is like putting yourself on the back foot from the start. I'm mainly hoping for an improvement in qualifying, a good start and then we'll see what happens from there. It's great to be fighting at the front and that's always what we want to do, but we're in a tight battle this season so of course the most important thing is to score some good points again for the team. If we have a strong weekend from the start then I think we are capable of fighting for a podium or even a win. We'll see after qualifying where we are; hopefully we can get another good result!

Testing: Seb In A Bit Of Red, Max Crashes