Lotus preview the British GP

Sunday 01-July-2012 10:06

The race is on at Lotus to see whether Kimi Raikkonen or Romain Grosjean will claim the team's first race victory for 2012...

For all the latest F1 odds on the British GP, which takes place at the Silverstone circuit, visit Sky Bet.

Kimi Raikkonen:
Q: How do you feel your season is shaping up?
KR: If you asked me before the start of the season whether I would be happy with podiums I would have said yes, but now I've had some good results, I want more. In the last few races the results haven't been as strong as I've wanted. We've finished well but I'm disappointed not to have a win yet. We just have to get everything together and I'm sure it can come.

Q: What was your feeling at the end of the European Grand Prix?
KR: I was happy, but equally it's always disappointing when you don't win. The race wasn't perfect for me. I got a good start but then I got blocked and lost quite a few places. I managed to retake some positions but it wasn't easy. At the restart, I lost a place to Lewis [Hamilton]. I just got too much wheelspin out of the corner. Then, when I was in third place, a few cars retired and I thought I would save the tyres a bit and try to get Lewis at some point. I saw him sliding and it wasn't until the last few laps when I could make the move, but I got him in the end.

Q: If you could have got past Lewis sooner, do you think you could have challenged Fernando [Alonso] for the win?
KR: I had a good car, but basically I let him past at the restart. After the bridge, I made a mistake and Lewis got past me. It was my own mistake. I would have overtaken him sooner to get the place back if I could have done. I was not waiting for the last or second last lap; I just didn't have the speed. I had to wait until he ran out of tyres. Then I got the chance. I tried to get closer and closer but I was not fast enough earlier on. If Lewis had not got past me I would have had a better chance against Fernando, but it's one of those things; if you make a mistake you pay the price. I think we've been closer to the win at other tracks, but if we see everything going right for us over a race weekend we're not far off. We're certainly getting there.

Q: How do you like the Silverstone circuit?
KR: It's always such a good feeling going to Silverstone. It's a great place to race. I have a long history there. It was the real base for the start of my international racing career in Formula Renault in 1999 and 2000. Since then I've always enjoyed racing at Silverstone. I don't know why; there must be this nostalgic feeling that I have every time we go there. I'll enjoy the weekend whatever the weather will be. We've seen quite a lot of different conditions there in the past, and not always good! It's always windy at Silverstone and often it rains, too. The track conditions change very quickly, which makes the car more tricky to set up. It's part of the fun racing in England; at least it's the same for everybody.

Q: What are the challenges of Silverstone?
KR: When I first raced there it was my real favourite. It's so fast and demanding which makes it very challenging. The corners really flow and it's all about long, sweeping high-speed corners and high downforce levels. Somehow it has been a good circuit for me since the very beginning. It will be interesting to see how the new section changes a lap, but I'm sure I'll learn it very quickly.

Q: You've won at Silverstone in 2007 and been on the podium five times altogether. How does it feel when everything goes right there?
KR: When you win in Silverstone, it gives such a good feeling. You have to get everything exactly right. I won there in Formula Renault and then with Ferrari in 2007. It would be fantastic to win again there, especially with the factory just down the road. I'm sure we would have some fantastic celebrations.

Romain Grosjean:
Q: What's the mindset heading to Silverstone?
RG: I think we head to Silverstone with more confidence. We understand a few more things with the car. It was good to have a really hot weekend all the way through at Valencia as we were able to work on the car and really analyse things. Silverstone is very high speed; I'm confident we'll have strong pace and that should lead to a good race.

Q: What are your feelings about the European Grand Prix?
RG: I was very close to what could have been my first win, and at the location of my Formula 1 debut too! It would have made a nice story, but reality doesn't always follow the script. It was a fantastic race until I had the problem. I was fighting with world champions in Lewis [Hamilton], Sebastian [Vettel] and Fernando [Alonso], and I was right with them on pace. It was unbelievable for me and I'm pleased with the way the team is working. We made a real step forwards in Valencia, understanding some performance considerations which will help us for the rest of the season. I can't wait to put them into practice at Silverstone. Ultimately, we didn't finish, but through no fault of our own. I was as sad as the team. The win was there for the taking, but it just got away. I have to be patient. I didn't achieve my first win in Valencia, but I am convinced that it will come. It's great to fight with World Champions, proper big teams. We are now a big team.

Q: What lessons did you learn personally at Valencia?
RG: It was my first safety car period in Formula 1, so that was good experience for the future and I'm sure we will be able to use this knowledge next time. My race start was good and I could make use of the momentum I had off the line. A lot of people say I'm too aggressive sometimes; I don't think I have been this year. Sometimes I have made a mistake, and you can point to a lack of experience, but in Valencia I showed that I am able to be aggressive when I need to be, and also to leave some space when I need to do so. When Fernando overtook me around the outside of turn two I left him space.

Q: How did the alternator problem manifest itself?
RG: There was a warning on the steering wheel and I kept asking Ayao [Komatsu] "What is it? What is it? Can I do anything?" and he told me not to worry about the alarm. Next I lost some information on the dashboard, and it wasn't easy to drive, then I started to feel that there was a problem with the car and something was going wrong. This was about a lap and a half before we stopped, then suddenly everything cut; I couldn't even use the radio! This meant all contact with the engineers was gone. I was stuck on the track and couldn't cross it, so I had to wait for 20 laps under the sun before I could get back.

Q: How was it at the side of the track being an impromptu spectator?
RG: It was almost as frustrating as the car cutting out! I couldn't discuss with the engineers what had gone wrong and I had to watch the rest of the race stranded out on track; at least my chair was comfortable! You just want to return to the pits, talk to the crew and help with the rest of the race.

Q: It will be your first time in a Formula 1 car on the new Silverstone circuit layout...
RG: I won on it in the GP2 Series last year, so I'm not too bad on the track! It's the same for everybody. It's challenging, but it has a good feel. It's one of the quickest tracks of the year. There are corners which are legendary like the Magotts, Becketts, Chapel complex. What a feeling... It's a special Grand Prix for our team as the factory is very close to the track. It will be nice to see them. They are all doing an amazing job, always working so hard. I will be visiting them after the race and hopefully we can go there with some good silverware to show them.

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