A frantic European Grand Prix from the Valencia Street Circuit saw extremes of emotion for Lotus F1 Team, as Kimi produced a fine drive to take his third podium of the season while Romain was deprived of a potential race win by mechanical failure.
Lap 1: Clean getaway for both drivers; Romain up to P3, Kimi shuffled down to P7 but retakes P6
Lap 2: Romain attacks Lewis Hamilton, Kimi passes Pastor Maldonado but is run wide by the Williams and re-passed
Lap 10: Romain passes Lewis Hamilton with a brave move
Lap 13: Kimi takes Pastor Maldonado with a great pass round the outside
Lap 14: The Finn pits for the first time; soft tyres
Lap 16: The 2007 World Champion is jumped by Fernando Alonso in the stops, Romain pits for softs to shadow Vettel
Lap 17: Romain slicing through traffic, Kimi caught behind slower cars
Lap 19: Kimi passes Mark Webber using DRS down the straight
Lap 20: The Finn then passes Bruno Senna through the kink
Lap 23: Then passes Paul Di Resta in a similar fashion to Mark Webber previously
Lap 26: Fastest lap of the race for Romain
Lap 28: Safety car, Romain and Kimi both pit, Kimi gains as place as LewisHamilton has a slow stop
Lap 34: Safety car in, Fernando Alonso passes Romain, Lewis Hamilton passes Kimi, Sebastian Vettel stops on track promoting both drivers one place
Lap 35: Romain closes on Fernando Alonso, Kimi passes Daniel Ricciardo
Lap 40: Romain retires, loss of alternator
Lap 55: Kimi almost takes Lewis Hamilton at the end of the long straight, then makes it stick two corners later
Lap 60: Kimi crossed the line to take P2
A clean start for both drivers saw Kimi move up alongside his team-mate off the line and attempt to pass Pastor Maldonado through the first curve. The Venezuelan however had other ideas; blocking the Finn who subsequently dropped two places. Romain meanwhile took advantage to pass both drivers and move into P3.
Later around the first lap, the 2007 World Champion passes Nico Hulkenberg to reclaim P6 as both E20s show good early pace. Romain meanwhile had started to hound the back of Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren, eventually passing the British driver with a brave move into the chicane following the long straight.
A few laps later, Kimi pulled off a fantastic move around the outside of Pastor Maldonado to move back into his P5 starting position before pulling into the pits for a fresh set of yellow marked soft compound Pirelli tyres on the next lap. Romain dived in for the same rubber shortly afterwards, shadowing leader Sebastian Vettel.
With the order now significantly shuffled, The Finn found himself behind Fernando Alonso but making good progress back through the pack; passing Mark Webber, Bruno Senna and Paul Di Resta in quick succession. Romain was simultaneously was slicing his way through the pack, setting the fastest lap of the race along the way.
Lap 28 saw the safety car deployed, with both Lotus F1 Team drivers diving in for their final stops – making the switch to medium rubber. With Lewis Hamilton suffering a slow wheel change, Kimi found himself promoted a position as the train of cars backed up.
No sooner had the safety car dived in that both the Finn and Frenchman found themselves under pressure; Romain losing a place to Fernando Alonso while Kimi found himself re-passed by Lewis Hamilton. Moments later, leader Sebastian Vettel slowed to a stop promoting both drivers up one position.
Lap 40 saw the end of a fantastic run for Romain, who had driven superbly to keep in touch with Fernando Alonso ahead, with his tyres potentially in a state to allow the Frenchman to challenge the Spaniard for the lead – an alternator failure the cause of his early exit.
This left Kimi as the lone charger to deliver a result for the team, and deliver he did; battling hard with Lewis Hamilton pulling off a strong pass to take P2, where he would eventually finish to claim his third podium of the season; the fifth for the team in 2012.
Pos--Driver-------Team------------------------Time 1. Alonso Ferrari 1h44:16.449 2. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 6.421 3. Schumacher Mercedes + 12.639 4. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 13.628 5. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 19.993 6. Rosberg Mercedes + 21.176 7. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 22.866 8. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 24.653 9. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 27.777 10. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 34.653 11. Senna Williams-Renault + 35.961 12. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 37.041 13. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1:15.871 14. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1:34.654 15. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 1:36.551 16. Massa Ferrari + 1 lap 17. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap 18. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap 19. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 2 laps Fastest lap: Rosberg, 1:42.163 Not classified/retirements: Driver-------Team---------------------On lap Grosjean Lotus-Renault 41 Vettel Red Bull-Renault 34 Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 34 Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 27 Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1 World Championship standings, round 8: Drivers:---------------------Constructors: 1. Alonso 111 1. Red Bull-Renault 176 2. Webber 91 2. McLaren-Mercedes 137 3. Hamilton 88 3. Lotus-Renault 126 4. Vettel 85 4. Ferrari 122 5. Rosberg 75 5. Mercedes 92 6. Raikkonen 73 6. Sauber-Ferrari 60 7. Grosjean 53 7. Williams-Renault 45 8. Button 49 8. Force India-Mercedes 44 9. Perez 39 9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6 10. Maldonado 30 11. Di Resta 27 12. Kobayashi 21 13. Hulkenberg 17 14. Schumacher 17 15. Senna 15 16. Massa 11 17. Vergne 4 18. Ricciardo 2
Video: Sky Sports post-race interview
Kimi Raikkonen – 2nd: “Second place is okay but the win is what I really wanted. We didn’t quite have the pace for it today. I got a good start but I was blocked by Pastor (Maldonado) at the first right-hander and lost quite a few places which put me a bit behind. We made a good recovery from that position and had quite a hard fight with a few people – overtaking and being overtaken. I couldn’t get the tyres up to temperature quickly enough after the safety car, and I made a small mistake on the re-start lap too. I was able to fight back as we had good race pace again. Today was close but the race win was just out of reach.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “It’s a good result for the team and for Kimi. Second brings a lot of points, and we also didn’t lose ground on the teams ahead of us in the championship standings. On the other side of the coin, it’s been a disappointing day for Romain as he was in such a good position for at least a podium finish. This is racing, and we will work closely with our partners to ensure we don’t see a failure like this again in the future. Both drivers and the team worked very well this weekend and we have shown that if we achieve a good qualifying position we can fight for the win.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “I’m very happy for the team to be on the podium again with a strong second position from Kimi. I’m sorry for Romain as he was in a good position before what we believe was an alternator failure resulted in a lack of fuel pressure, causing his car to stop. He was right in the fight to be on the podium again so that was unfortunate. Our tyres held up well against the opposition and we did see overtaking once the tyres of other cars dropped away. It was quite a straight-forward call for the final pit stop under the safety car, and we could see that there was enough space between both cars to double stop them. Both drivers did very good jobs today. We know we need to look at getting heat into the tyres quicker after a safety car, but otherwise a very strong weekend.”