Lotus F1® Team ace, Kimi Räikkönen displayed today world-class skill and precision in a battle which saw him ascend the Formula1® field in scorching temperatures at Budapest’s Hungaroring circuit. Räikkönen’s ingenuity, dexterity and game-play were on full-show as he shimmied his way to a successful P2 clinch. The celebratory finish was thanks in part to a last-minute two-stop strategy made possible by the Finn’s considered tyre preservation. Kimi fans could barely watch as during the last 15 laps of the race Räikkönen mounted a phenomenal defence of his P2 position whilst the current F1® World Champion snapped and chiselled at his heels on fresher, newer Pirelli’s. The Iceman, under immense pressure faultlessly held the line, thwarting the attempted challenges to overtake, before succumbing to the chequered flag in earnest and scooping a P2 result much to the relief and delight of his fans.
Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean fared less well in a race that looked extremely promising for him. Despite qualifying in P3, starting well and leading the pack early on, it was the Frenchman’s overtaking that caused him problems. Firstly an unfortunate error in judgement led to a collision with McLaren driver Jenson Button, following which during another overtaking manoeuvre Grosjean was slapped with a drive-through penalty as punishment for his car leaving the track at turn 4. All in all Romain lost crucial time and meant he slid down the field finishing a disappointing sixth.
Nevertheless, both drivers take points away from the Hungarian GP. Kimi moves up one place in the Driver’s Championship to second place with 134 points, whilst in the Constructors Championship Lotus remains in fourth place with 183 points.
Kimi Räikkönen. P2, E21-03 “It was a good race and a good result for the team. The strategy worked well. We did two long stints on the tyres but they weren’t too bad and the car felt strong so it allowed us to make one less stop. In the last few laps the rears were a bit on edge, but apart from that it was ok. Sebastian [Vettel] got the run on me a couple of times but luckily it was in places that you can’t really overtake. The main positive is that we gained a few points to Seb in the Championship. For sure we could have maybe closed the gap a little more with a win, but anything we can get back will help. We’re only halfway through the season and it will be hard to catch up, but anything can still happen so we’ll keep fighting until the end.”
Romain Grosjean P6, E21-02 “This is one that got away, but I’m very happy with my race and I honestly don’t think I could have done much more. Maybe the strategy didn’t quite work how we wanted, but the car felt really good and it was the traffic that cost us. Without this maybe there would never have been a drive-through penalty which for sure didn’t help. I haven’t seen the footage yet and I thought it was a good move, but unfortunately the stewards took a different view. I’ve no problem with the time-added for the incident with Jenson and I apologised to him afterwards. This could have been the one for me, but we will just have to wait a little bit longer and keep improving like we have been recently to make it happen.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal "Another good result for Kimi today. He drove very well and was backed up by a strong strategy to help him make the podium. Romain was very unfortunate in that we couldn’t quite jump Fernando [Alonso] in the pits which cost him a lot of time, plus the drive-through penalty cost him a far better result. He made a great move at a circuit where overtaking is difficult and he had no room to do anything else. For us the Stewards’ decision was harsh. The most important thing to take from the weekend has been the pace of the car; this circuit is a bit special, and I think there will be some circuits where we have to work a bit harder, but I’m confident we’ll be consistently fighting for podiums at every race weekend in the second half of the season. Red Bull are a long way ahead, but we’ve shown today that they can be beaten so we want to keep pushing them all the way.”
The official summer break now ensues with the eleventh round of the competition taking place at the Spa circuit for the Belgian GP on 25th August.