The Lotus F1 Team brought the fight to Suzuka today, which began with a stark demonstration that Lotus is the team to watch, never to be underestimated. Following a strong qualifying, Romain Grosjean began the 53-lap race from P4. As soon as the lights were out, Romain went on the offensive, stealing the lead from the frontrunner and shimmying into P1. With the howling pack behind him snarling at his heels Romain bravely held onto his lead for some 30 laps, much to the delight of the Black and Gold fan base. A tug-of-war then ensued for P2, and in a nail-biting final lap fight, Romain could not quite hold on, finishing in P3.
It was a different race however, for Kimi Räikkönen. Whilst Romain had a dream start, for Kimi this was not to be, and a wheelspin as the lights went out meant as Romain gained places, Kimi lost them, falling back to P11. Nevertheless just as the former World Champion demonstrated in Korea, his consistent and determined race style soon paid dividends and Kimi began a tough ascent to finally finish in P5.
Kimi retains third place in the Drivers’ Championship on 177 points whilst Romain remains eighth on 87 points. The team also remains in fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
Kimi Räikkönen. P5, E21-05 “I had a very poor start. I left the line with wheelspin and lost a few places which wasn’t ideal, but I managed to gain places back later on in the race. After the final pit stop the car was working much better. It ran well in the last half of the race and I was very happy with it. It was a pretty normal race I would say. It’s difficult to overtake here so it’s good that we got some points. We did what we could.”
Romain Grosjean P3, E21-04 “Today was just a very, very good race. What a start! It was superb to go past both the Red Bulls like that and it’ll be one of my best memories of the year. The car was fantastic on the first set of tyres and we managed to pull away, but then the Red Bulls were able to reel us in later on. Ultimately, we were the only car to almost catch the bull. It’s been a great home race for my engineer; it’s always good to come to Japan and it’s really good to be back on the podium again.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal “It’s great to see such a good fight in the race and both our cars show so strongly. Once again, both drivers, our strategists and the pit crew performed brilliantly and we did the very best we could on track. We don’t have the pace to beat Red Bull, but today we showed them that we are nevertheless quite formidable whilst also underlining to Mercedes and Ferrari that we are a strong contender for the final four races of the season. We must say a big thanks to everyone at Enstone for the fantastic car we have in the E21. To see Romain leading the race was very satisfying and we hope to see that again very soon.”
The 16th round of the competition takes place in Mumbai, India on the 27th October 2013.