Lotus showed strong pace once again during the team’s home race at Silverstone, finishing 5th and 6th, but difficulties on Saturday ultimately kept them off the podium.
While the sun came out on Sunday, Friday and Saturday’s running was wet and slippery. During qualifying, Romain Grosjean set the fifth fastest Q2 time but then beached his Lotus E20 in the gravel, meaning he was unable to compete in Q3. He started the grand prix ninth, benefiting from Nico Hulkenberg’s five place gearbox-change penalty. Kimi Räikkönen was able to run in Q3 despite having no KERS for the entire qualifying session. He finished up P6, which was impressive given the advantage a horsepower boost has around the very fast Northamptonshire track.
At the start Kimi made an aggressive move down the outside of Sebastian Vettel at Turn 4 but launched himself across the inside kerb in order to avoid Felipe Massa’s Ferrari. Romain was forced to make an early pitstop on Lap 2 after he hit Paul di Resta’s Force India at the start and suffered a broken front wing. The damage and the subsequent nose-change sunk him to 20th place, from where he fought through the field. Kimi came in on Lap 13 and emerged one place ahead of Grosjean in P7. With the soft tyres out of the way, both Lotus drivers did their second and third stints on the superior hard compound.
The pair then set about dispatching the cars in front of them, Kimi passing Michael Schumacher and Romain pulling off some thrilling moves on Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. In the final laps, Kimi was pushing Felipe Massa for fourth but was unable to improve, while Romain followed in sixth seven seconds behind his team-mate.
Lotus remains third in the Constructors Championship with 144 points. Ferrari improves and is now second to Red Bull with 152 points, while McLaren slips to fourth two points behind Lotus. Kimi moves up to fifth place in the Drivers’ Championship with 83, while Romain retains seventh on 61 points.
Kimi Räikkönen : "I had a pretty okay first few corners but I had to avoid the cars in front and drove over the kerb on the inside of the turn, then I lost a place and was pushed wide. If I had stayed in front of Mark [Webber] at the start it would have been pretty good seeing where he finished, but after that Lewis [Hamilton] also got past me. I fought back and our car was strong, especially on the harder tyres. If I’d had a better start I could have finished much better; but that’s racing and sometimes you pay a bigger price than you expect from the first lap.”
Romain Grosjean: “There was a little bit of confusion at Turns 3 and 4, and I was on the outside at Turn 3. The Force India came from the inside and just touched my front wing with his rear wheel. It was a shame but there's nothing you can really do in these situations. I think the best thing is to qualify on pole or second place and then it's easier in the first corners. The result itself is not fantastic, but the way the race went, from 22nd to sixth is very good. To come in the points after a change of nose is quite unbelievable, but the team did a great job to give me a car, which was fantastic. The strategy with only one stop in the middle was quite risky, but it worked well, and there were some good battles on track with Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. It was very enjoyable.”