The Lotus F1® Team, together with Lotus friend of old Heikki Kovalainen saddled up today for the penultimate race of the 2013 F1® World Championship competition at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. The Finn and veteran Lotus driver stood in for Kimi Räikkönen who was recovering in hospital following surgery on his back.Regular Lotus driver Romain Grosjean brought delight early on, when from P3 he begun in lightening style and shimmied up into P2 during the first lap. An epic drive then followed for the Frenchman where he fought off fierce competition throughout the race holding onto his well-earned spot with everything he could muster. With Lotus fans around the world willing him on, it was a fully deserved podium win for Romain who has shown consistent premier flight form with this, his 5th consecutive top 4 finish and 6th podium of the season.
It was a less fortunate race however for Heikki Kovalainen who despite qualifying in P8, found himself stuck behind mid-grid traffic before suffering technical issues that further hampered his efforts, to see him finish in P15.
Romain Grosjean P2, E21-04 “That was a really tough race. I had to have probably one of my best ever drives to keep Mark [Webber] behind and it’s a great feeling to have tamed at least one of the Bulls in Texas as they clearly had the fastest package today. We knew a good start would be the key, so making up one place in the first corner was really important and the car was just fantastic from there onwards. The whole team here and back at Enstone are doing an amazing job. Every day I see them working hard together to keep us at the front and when you look at the gap to the next nearest challenger, it’s clear that we’re the second best team after Red Bull right now. I think this place must bring me luck; this time last year I found out my wife was pregnant and now I’ve equalled my best finish in Formula 1, so I can’t wait to come back again and see what happens next year!”
Heikki Kovalainen P15 E21-05 “My start wasn’t great but then it was going okay until the first pit stop as I was racing with the pack with the car feeling quite good. After the pit stop I started to have a few problems, but it was difficult to know exactly what was going on. We had issues with downforce so we changed the front wing and after that it was much better, although still not as good as it’s felt previously this weekend. There was a KERS issue too, though not enough to account for my lack of race pace. We’ll have a good look at the data and hopefully be on top of things far better for the race in Brazil.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal “It’s been another positive weekend for the team. We scored more points than our championship rivals through a perfect drive from Romain. It really was his best Grand Prix ever and another excellent performance to add to his recent run of great form. The only way we could fight the Red Bulls was if Romain made a great start and that’s exactly what he delivered. It’s disappointing that Heikki couldn’t convert his eighth place on the grid to a points finish, but we had issues with his front wing and KERS which we will investigate before Brazil.”The Lotus F1® Team retains its 4th place in the Constructors Championship with 315 points just 18 points behind 3rd place. Kimi slips to 4th place in the driver’s championship standings’ whilst teammate Romain Grosjean sits in 7th place on 132 points.
The final round of the 2013 F1 World Championship competition takes place in São Paulo, Brazil, for the Brazilian Grand Prix on the 24th November.