The Buddh International Circuit, New Delhi was the scene of a colourful yet chaotic Grand Prix race today, as 11 F1® teams went to battle in the Indian capital. Lotus F1® driver Kimi Räikkönen started the race from P6 on the soft tyre compound before delivering a consistent and rewarding drive, snaking his way through the Formula One® field. He advanced well until during the latter stages of the race, when, having made just one tyre change, Kimi sat tight in P2. Holding this position began to prove difficult however, as with some 15 laps to go, Kimi was thwarted by a host of issues that cut short his aim for a podium finish. Tyre degradation was evident and as the former F1® World Champion began to lose grip, he lost places, evidently slipping down the pack. The Lotus ace was then forced to change tyres during the penultimate lap of the race, to ensure he earned valuable points for the team. He finally took the flag in P7, in what was a disappointing end given the Finn’s solid effort.
Whilst Kimi did not quite make the podium, Romain on the other hand delivered a trophy-worthy performance. What made his race all the more spectacular was that he had endured a poor qualifying and began the race from P17. More comfortable with the front of the grid than the back, Romain charged ahead and despite engine issues and a tussle with team-mate Räikkönen, Romain ascended to P3, having made only one pit-stop during the race.
Romain gains one place in the Drivers Championship standings, going up to 7th position with 102 points whilst Kimi retains 3rd place on 183 points. The Lotus F1® Team are currently fourth in the Constructors’ Championship.
Kimi Räikkönen. P7, E21-05 “We ran maybe the first twenty laps with no brakes as they had overheated massively, so every time I got close to somebody I lost braking. At the end of the race I ran out of tyre performance too so it’s been a pretty disappointing day. I knew the tyres would drop off quite quickly, but there wasn’t much to lose between trying to get to the end and making an extra pit stop in terms of time lost. In the end it didn’t work ”
Romain Grosjean P3, E21-04 “If you had told me yesterday that I’d be on the podium here I would have said you were crazy! Straight from the beginning of the race I felt very comfortable on the option tyres and we looked in pretty good shape, then we fitted the mediums and the car was really quick. I lost quite a lot of time behind [Esteban] Gutierrez which maybe cost us the fight for second, but we managed to come back from that well. When I saw that I was fourth in front of [Felipe] Massa with 27 laps to go I knew it was going to be close with him as we had to take care of the tyres, plus we had an engine issue at the end of the race which made things quite tricky. In the final laps Kimi was really struggling with his tyres so I managed to pass him and luckily had enough pace to keep Felipe behind. Before the race our best prediction was fourth if we had a strong start and a perfect race, so it was an amazing result and a great performance from the team. ”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal “It’s been an eventful weekend. In the end it was a brilliant job from the team and a great performance from Romain, who had a very strong drive and managed to conserve his tyre performance right to the end. He was fast today despite having to nurse his engine, and being on the podium is a good reward for the whole team. Obviously it’s disappointing that the tyres couldn’t last long enough for Kimi as being third and fourth would have been an amazing result for the team and very useful in the Constructors’ Championship, but we’ll keep fighting hard until the end of the season and we’ll give some headaches to the other teams. We give our congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull for their Championship victory today, and also our promise that we’re working hard to give them a tougher battle in 2014.”
The next round of the competition takes place in the UAE for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on the 3rd November 2013.