The Lotus driver has struggled in recent races to match the pace of his teammate, Romain Grosjean, but a change to a shorter wheelbase for Lotus has helped him regain confidence in the car. Raikkonen’s driving style has always placed a lot of emphasis on the front end of the car and the combination of changing the Pirelli tyres midseason and the development cycle of the car has clearly cost him momentum as the summer turned to autumn.
Today however Raikkonen looked to be able to drive the car more comfortably and naturally and after the session “The Iceman” spoke to the media about the changes to the car:
“It [the wheelbase] isn’t a big change but you can get the front end like I like it and I can drive normally so it’s more like it should be,” commented Raikkonen. “Today it was not so bad. I think that the car will be good in the race so we should be up there. I hope that we can fight with the Red Bull’s. We were OK yesterday and I think that when we changed the car it was better today in qualifying so we’ll see. We’re usually better in the race.”
With the Indian Grand Prix having been marred by drivers forced to make early pitstops because of the severe degradation of option tyres, race winner Sebastian Vettel was forced to make a stop after the second lap, Raikkonen felt that it would not be an issue this weekend but that it would only be during the race that we will find out:
“We will have to wait until we have done a certain amount of laps. The tyre is better here compared to India.”
Having flown into Abu Dhabi just in time for the opening practice session on Friday and his relationship with the team heavily under the spotlight Raikkonen dismissed questions about the issue by simply saying, “I don’t want to talk about that today.”