Mixed feelings for Grosjean and Räikkönen
15 April 2012 – The 2012 Chinese Grand Prix was very much a race of mixed results for Lotus. Kimi Räikkönen may have run second but, once passed by Sebastian Vettel, he soon lost ten positions in just two laps as his tyres were destroyed. His team-mate, on the other, bounced back from a poor start to the season with a career-best result.
“We tried to run two stops, as it looked to be the fastest strategy, and up until the last ten laps it was looking good, but we ran out of tyre performance at the end,” said the 2007 Champion, who started fourth but finished 14th.
“I was stuck behind Felipe (Massa) for quite a while and couldn’t get past, as I wasn’t fast enough in the right parts of the track to make a move. Even if I’d got past, I don’t think it would have made the greatest amount of difference to the final result. We had good pace in the race, we tried a different strategy and it didn’t pay off today. It’s as simple as that.”
Romain Grosjean’s season had started with two impressive qualifying performances but as many visits to a gravel trap. He turned that around by finishing sixth.
“It was a very good race, I really enjoyed it,” beamed the reigning GP2 Champion. “Unfortunately, I made a little mistake fighting with Mark (Webber) but overall it was a good performance. The car felt great and the team did an amazing job to give us such a big improvement from Friday, so I’m especially happy for the guys to be able to finish the race and get some good points on the board.
“To be up there fighting with McLaren and Red Bull is a great feeling and I’m happy to have got my season started properly. We’ve had high hopes since P3 on the grid in Melbourne and now, after a few setbacks, it’s time to aim higher. There’s always room to improve and hopefully from here we can aim for the top five and eventually podiums. We’ll take things step by step but I’m feeling confident for the rest of the season ahead.”
As Mercedes won today’s race, the silver arrows have jumped ahead of Lotus and are now fifth in the Constructors’ table – the pair are separated by just two points.