Boullier: It's getting more frustrating for Lotus
16 April 2012 – Eric Boullier could not hide his feelings after the Chinese Grand Prix, having seen Kimi Räikkönen tumble from second place as his tyres went off the cliff. Once passed by Sebastian Vettel, the Finn lost ten places in two laps and was to jettison a further pair as he finished 14th. However, it was a positive day for Romain Grosjean.
“It’s getting more frustrating for us as we are clearly very close to achieving a very good result,” Team Principal Boullier admitted after the race. “12 laps before the end of today’s race we had one car in P2 and one car in P5 with no more pit-stops to go. Unfortunately, we were a little bit too aggressive with our strategy.
“As soon as we understood some cars were doing three stops it was clear there was potential for us to finish on the podium, but we were not expecting the tyre wear to be as high as it was. For Romain the strategy worked, for Kimi it did not. The positives from this weekend are that we continue to show good qualifying and race pace with the E20 and we were capable of fighting for a podium finish with Kimi.”
Grosjean’s sixth place marked not only his first race finish of the year – having ended his Melbourne and Sepang afternoons early in gravel traps – but a career-best Formula 1 result for the reigning GP2 Champion.
“It was a very good first full race for Romain,” Boullier added. “One slow stop and one mistake when fighting with Mark (Webber) for position meaning he ran on the marbles cost him two positions; he recovered very well from that and his pace was very consistent.”
Lotus targets fourth in this year’s World Championship; the Enstone team currently sits sixth in the Constructors’ standings, seven points off its desired position.