With echoes from both the Bahrain and German GP races, it was celebrations all round today as a P2 and P3 finish for the Lotus F1® Team brings delight during the 14th round of the Formula 1® World Championship. The race, which took place in Korea, some 400km south of the Seoul capital had its fair share of thrills and spills with our black and gold drivers delivering podium-winning performances.
Kimi, having begun in P9, chipped away consistently in a determined drive that saw the former world champion soon attack and ascend the field. Lotus F1® Team pal Romain Grosjean qualified well, starting the race in P3. He then drove in earnest and gained a spot in lap 1 before relaxing into P2 for the majority of the remaining laps. Indeed, that was until our own Iceman rattled the Frenchman’s game, capitalising on an opportunity to slide past in world championship style during the latter stages, pushing Romain into P3.
Following world-class racing from both drivers, Kimi now moves up to third place in the Drivers’ Championship on 167 points whilst Romain remains eighth on 72 points. The team also remains in fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
Kimi Räikkönen. P2, E21-05 "Second place is ok and a good result for the team, but we’re here to win and having to fight your way to the front from a bad starting position is not ideal. Qualifying was pretty awful for me, but it’s difficult to say whether a better grid position would have made the difference. Sebastian was faster than us at the end; not massively, but a little bit for sure and his tyres were fresher too so I think it would have been tough to catch him in any case. We were closer to the Red Bull today than we have been in some races, but not close enough. People might say it was good luck with the safety car, but sometimes these things go with you and others they go against you. We made up some places even before that happened, and if we hadn’t had the speed then we wouldn’t have been in a position to take advantage. You could see at the end that we had more than enough pace to keep the others behind, so I think it’s deserved."
Romain Grosjean P3, E21-04. "It’s a fantastic result for the team. Of course, one step higher on the podium would have been better for me and two steps better would have been superb, but it didn’t quite work out that way. Our battle with Lewis [Hamilton] was good and our pace was great, but the two safety car periods hurt our attempts to battle for the win. After the restart I should have been in front of Kimi on the road, but it was my mistake which let him past. I went a bit wide in Turn 15 and got on the Astroturf – which is very slippery – and that let him get a run on me. Then there were yellow flags into Turn 3 so I couldn’t take the place back straight away. Of course, I was asking the team to let me past Kimi as I was on fresher tyres, but they left us to race which is our philosophy of fair play. You lose so much downforce in sectors two and three and obviously our cars are pretty close on performance so it’s pretty hard to pass, but we have to be very happy with a double podium."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal "Another double podium for the team is a fantastic result and it tastes like a race win this late in the season. Credit to everyone back at Enstone for delivering us extra performance from the long wheelbase car, as any gain towards the end of the year is especially beneficial as we fight for position in both Championships. The race team delivered a great strategy and pit stops, whilst both drivers drove exceptionally well. We have a lot of promise for the remaining races and podiums are certainly on our agenda."
The team now heads to Japan and Suzuka for the Japanese leg of the competition that takes place on 13th October 2013.