“#wheresmypodium” tweeted the Lotus F1 Team throughout the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend. Having come close in each of the opening rounds, the obvious pace of the Lotus E20 and the unquestionable skills of Kimi Raikkonen and young hotshot Romain Grosjean, it was only a matter of time. Finally, in the Middle East, it came together.
Kimi qualified 11th, and in missing out on the Q3 cut-off he saved a set of Pirellis which would come in handy. Romain qualified seventh.
The start was scintillating from both Lotus drivers. Grosjean shot up to third, Raikkonen up to sixth. Then they set about picking off more rivals, and emerged from the pitstops second and third respectively. On soft tyres, Kimi was the faster of the pair and was allowed to overtake on Lap 24. Let off the leash, he began hunting down race leader Sebastian Vettel. Having reigned him in with DRS, and had a stab at the end of the straight, Seb and Kimi pitted together on Lap 39, the German maintaining his lead and slowly pulling away.
The Lotus is kinder to its tyres than the Red Bull but on this occasion Vettel’s RB8 was able to keep a gap to the fired-up Finn. They crossed the finish line a few seconds apart, with Romain taking his first F1 podium further down the road.
Lotus now leaps from sixth to third in the Constructors’ Championship, sandwiched between McLaren and Ferrari.