Lotus satisfied with double points finish
24 March 2013 – Lotus salvaged a double points finish at this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, after a disappointing qualifying performance on Saturday meant that drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean started Sunday’s race well down the order.
Räikkönen spent most of the race in a duel with Sauber driver Nico Hülkenberg, at one point complaining on his team radio about the German’s aggressive defending, but he ultimately came out on top to finish seventh. Following his victory at the season opener in Australia, the Finn’s performance was rather less polished this time round, having made several excursions onto the grass throughout the Grand Prix.
"Although the car felt very good on Friday, yesterday and today have been pretty difficult," said Räikkönen, who set the pace in Friday’s second practice session. "Since Saturday morning it has not been behaving as we expected for some reason, especially in the wet where we really struggled for grip.
"It was a tough race and I lost part of my front wing at the start which didn’t help, but at least we scored a few points which is better than coming away with nothing. If we can get the car back to how it was in Australia then I’m sure we’ll be at the front again."
Grosjean brought the sister Lotus home in sixth, and was pleased after a trouble-free race saw him finish ahead of his team-mate for the first time since Canada last year.
"I think we can be quite happy with the result today," said the former GP2 Champion. "It was a tough race, starting wet and finishing dry, but that’s what you expect in Malaysia. I spent a lot of time stuck behind Felipe [Massa] in the middle phase of the race and I’m sure if I could have passed him earlier then I would have stayed ahead, but by the end my tyres were finished so it was best just to let him through.
"It’s not the result we would have wanted at the beginning of the weekend, but it’s more points for the team and we’ll try to come back stronger in Shanghai."
The result means that Lotus drops down to second in the Constructors’ standings, level on points with Ferrari. In addition, Räikkönen falls back to second in the Drivers’ Championship on a total of 31 points, nine behind new leader Sebastian Vettel.