Jubilation for Lotus fans today, as a fantastic fourth round of the FIA 2013 Formula One® World Championship at the Sakhir Circuit, Bahrain, saw Kimi Räikkönen finish in P2 and team mate Romain Grosjean clinch P3 replicating last year’s double podium result.
In what had viewers on the edge of their seats from beginning to end, the Lotus pair drove a fantastic race charging up the field to bag a top spot finish. A marked result followed a disappointing qualifying session which saw Kimi start in P8 and Romain P11. Tyre strategy again played a crucial part in the Lotus performance, with both drivers opting for a longer stint early on in an effort to preserve their tyres from wear and thermal degradation. For our favourite Finn, this meant a 2-stop race which preserved precious seconds and aided his springboard up the field. Romain also benefited from a tactical tyre strategy and together with some intelligent overtaking he too battled his way to the front and finally, to a well deserved place on the podium, his first of the season.
Kimi Räikkönen, P2, E21-03
“You’re never really happy if you don’t win, but I suppose second place is as close as you can get. I drove to the maximum and the car had the pace that we missed in qualifying yesterday so it was a pretty good result. We didn’t have the speed to challenge Sebastian [Vettel] today but we did have the pace to get both cars on the podium so I’m happy for the team.”
“It’s great to be back on the podium and it’s a fantastic result for the team. It hasn’t been an easy start to the season for me, but we made good progress through the weekend and are now back to where we should be. I felt much more comfortable in the car and the result today is a deserved reward for everyone after all our hard work. It was a really enjoyable race with a lot of overtaking and a couple of tense moments along the way, so to come from P11 through to the podium is really satisfying. We’ve had consistency already, finishing every race in the points, but now it’s the big results we’re chasing and this is a very good start to that challenge.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal
"Here we are again, just like in 2012! This time around though it was much more difficult – especially after a qualifying performance which fell below our expectations – but we’ve shown flashes of pace throughout the weekend and confirmed that speed when it mattered today. The win was not quite within our reach after the start we made, but to come away with a double podium when the top six would maybe have been a more realistic pre-race target was a great performance from everybody involved. I’m delighted for the whole team here in Bahrain and back at Enstone; it’s a well-deserved result.”
It’s all smiles then as we head to Europe and to the Spanish Grand Prix, where the competition begins to heat up. Lotus is currently second in the Constructor’s Championship behind Red Bull, whilst in the drivers standings Kimi sits a mere 10 points behind current World Champion Sebastian Vettel. It’s certainly all to play for and if our present form is anything to go by, it’s sure to be yet another race thriller.
Can’t wait that long? Then don’t forget you can see the Lotus F1® Team at the Lotus Originals store in Regent Street, London, next Wednesday 24th April for autograph signings from 4.30pm. See our facebook page soon for further details.