Promoted to third place following Sebastian Vettel’s post-race penalty, Kimi now has four podium finishes to his name in 2012. In typical Iceman fashion though, the Finn won’t truly be happy until he finally gets that elusive win.
Q: Kimi, a podium position here after a difficult qualifying session; you must be pleased with today’s performance?
KR: It’s nice to have another podium, but obviously we would rather get it on the track. Having said that I think we did the best we could today from the position we started. Maybe if we had found a bit more pace in the wet yesterday we could have started higher, avoided the traffic and pushed the leaders, but it is what it is. For sure we were hoping for a bit better, but the car worked well all through the race and we still brought home some good points for the team so there are some positives to take to the next race.
Q: Things seemed to get pretty tight during the first lap…
KR: My start was okay, but then I think Lewis [Hamilton] must have had a problem in front of me as he braked really sharply and I had to slow down to avoid hitting the back of his car. This meant I didn’t carry so much speed going onto the straight and Paul [Di Resta] managed to get past in the DRS zone. From there we had a big hill to climb as it was tricky to get back past people, even though we had the pace in the car. Once I had some clean air we pulled away quite quickly, so it’s a bit frustrating that we got stuck in traffic for so long. Maybe without that the result could have been even better…
Q: You’re up to fourth in the Driver’s Championship with only a small gap to the drivers directly in front; where can you go from here?
KR: If you had told me in January that we would be fourth halfway through the season, I think I would have been pretty pleased. It’s not a bad place to be, but I think we have a car good enough to have scored more points. I want to win and the whole team is pushing hard to make it happen, so let’s see what we can do in the second half of the season…
Sebastian Vettel has been handed a penalty for his overtaking move on Jenson Button in the German Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver passed his McLaren rival for second with less than two laps to go by running off track at the exit of the hairpin.
Vettel’s move was illegal, according to the stewards, who imposed a post-race drive-through penalty on the German, meaning 20 seconds have been added to his finishing time.
The German drops from second to fifth, promoting Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen to third.
A mixed German Grand Prix all round for the team at Hockenheim ; Kimi producing a fine drive to move up six positions while early damage for Romain compounded a trying weekend for the Frenchman.
Key Moments :
Lap 01 : KR up to P9, RG down to P24 after contact forces an early pit stop
Lap 02 : KR takes Lewis Hamilton ; up to P8 only to be passed back the following lap
Lap 05 : KR moves past Paul Di Resta into P8 through T9 / T10
Lap 11 : KR pits for soft tyres, jumping Mark Webber to clinch P6 after Lewis Hamilton is forced to pit
Lap 13 : Fastest lap for KR ; flying on fresh rubber
Lap 15 : Another position gained for KR ; past Nico Hulkenberg into P5
Lap 21 : After a long battle, KR takes Michael Schumacher exiting T6 to take P4
Lap 23 : First round of stops complete ; KR P4, RG P20
Lap 25 : RG pits for the medium compound tyres
Lap 38 : KR in for his 2nd stop ; medium rubber this time around for the Finn
Lap 40 : KR reclaims the fastest lap of the race
Lap 43 : RG in for the third time ; softs on this occasion
Lap 50 : Off-track excursion for RG ; wide into the T12 gravel but recovers well
Lap 67 : Chequered flag ; KR P4, RG P18
Warm and dry conditions as the lights went out at Hockenheim ; Both E20s starting the race on yellow marked soft compound Pirelli tyres. A frantic first lap saw Kimi stay out of trouble to move up one position, while Romain’s bad luck continued ; contact breaking the front wing and damaging the floor of his E20. Forced to make an unscheduled pit stop, the Frenchman made the switch to the white marked medium compound rubber.
The first phase proved equally as action-packed for the Finn ; passing Lewis Hamilton, being re-passed by the McLaren, then making a move on Paul Di Resta. After an early stop for fresh softs, the 2007 World Champion jumped both Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton – in the pits / thanks to a puncture respectively – to find himself up in sixth.
Flying in the early stages, Kimi took the fastest lap of the race as he chased down Nico Hulkenberg ; passing the German within three laps of his stop to take fifth in an opportunistic move by following Michael Schumacher past the Force India in the turn nine / ten complex.
Settling into a good rhythm, the Finn remained glued to the back of the Mercedes in front ; an intense battle ensuing before a fine move exiting the turn six hairpin clinched fourth place for the Iceman. As the first round of stops filtered out, Kimi occupied fourth place while Romain remained pinned at the back of the field ; twentieth for the Frenchman after his various troubles in the early stages.
A quiet period of the race for the Lotus F1 Team drivers created a busy phase for the team ; two stops in five laps seeing both E20s emerge on medium tyres as the Finn once again notched the quickest time of the day thus far on fresh rubber.
The Iceman continued to clock personal best times and fastest sectors in the dying embers of the race, but with a significant gap to Jenson Button in front the podium was just out of reach as he came home in a strong fourth. Romain eventually limped over the line in a severely battered and bruised E20 to take eighteenth on a weekend to forget for the Frenchman.
Revised results and standings: Pos Driver Team 1. Alonso Ferrari 2. Button McLaren-Mercedes 3. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 4. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 5. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 6. Perez Sauber-Ferrari 7. Schumacher Mercedes 8. Webber Red Bull-Renault 9. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 10. Rosberg Mercedes 11. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes 12. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 13. Massa Ferrari 14. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 15. Maldonado Williams-Renault 16. Petrov Caterham-Renault 17. Senna Williams-Renault 18. Grosjean Lotus-Renault 19. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 20. Pic Marussia-Cosworth 21. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 22. Glock Marussia-Cosworth 23. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth Not classified/retirements: Driver Team Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes World Championship standings, round 10: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Alonso 154 1. Red Bull-Renault 230 2. Webber 120 2. Ferrari 177 3. Vettel 110 3. McLaren-Mercedes 160 4. Raikkonen 98 4. Lotus-Renault 159 5. Hamilton 92 5. Mercedes 105 6. Rosberg 76 6. Sauber-Ferrari 80 7. Button 68 7. Williams-Renault 47 8. Grosjean 61 8. Force India-Mercedes 46 9. Perez 47 9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6 10. Kobayashi 33 11. Maldonado 29 12. Schumacher 29 13. Di Resta 27 14. Massa 23 15. Hulkenberg 19 16. Senna 18 17. Vergne 4 18. Ricciardo 2
Kimi Raikkonen, (4th -3rd) – “We did the best we could today from the position we started. My start was okay, but then I think Lewis had a problem in front of me and I had to slow down to avoid hitting the back of his car. This let Paul (Di Resta) through in the DRS zone and from there we had a big hill to climb as it was tricky to get back past. Maybe if we had found a bit more pace in the wet yesterday we could have started higher and pushed the leaders, but it is what it is. For sure we were hoping for a bit better here, but the car worked well all through the race and we still brought home some good points for the team so there are some positives to take to the next race.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “We saw a great recovery from Kimi after yesterday’s issues. It was a very strong and experienced drive coupled with a good strategy from the team. Starting in tenth and nineteenth positions we were always going to have our work cut out, so it’s good to see Kimi score big points again and display strong race pace. With Romain it was a difficult first lap and he had to fight with a damaged car from then on. We have all seen him have very good weekends, so we need to ensure that he has solid weekends even when circumstances mean he starts from the back of the grid. As a team we had the same pace as the frontrunners so there is no question about our capacity to score podiums and maybe a win one day.”
Alan Permane, Director of Trackside Operations: “Romain was compromised by his first lap incident which severely damaged his floor, losing him a lot of downforce. With Kimi moving tenth to fourth we saw the strategy work as we wanted it to. We were hoping to be able to get on the podium but the first few laps cost a bit too much time. Ultimately we could run at the pace of the leaders, but we were just too far back to make the top three today. It’s a familiar story we know all too well ; we have to qualify better to get stronger results. The wet weather of Saturday really hurt us in qualifying here, so hopefully we can bounce back in Budapest and do a good job.”
Video: Kimi passes Di Resta – onboard, Schumacher and Kimi pass Hulkenberg, Kimi overtakes Schumacher, full onboard coverage with Kimi
End of clip – Martin Brundle: “What impressed me with Kimi Raikkonen today was his racecraft, he’s lost absolutely none of it despite being away, and he was inch perfect today.”
When this season started team principal Eric Boullier dreamed that Lotus would finish third in the constructors’ standings. Boullier’s dream has – for now, at least – become a reality but with 11 races still to go, anything could still happen. And the Frenchman knows his team must improve their car’s qualifying form if they are to take advantage of its excellent race pace and claim victory this year. He discusses this, drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean and much more…
Selected questions and answers:
Q: What will be your homework for the next races? Where can you improve?
EB: We have a big upgrade we would like to see working on the car after the shutdown. So you could call this race some kind of test. The most visible change has been the new wing on Kimi’s car but there are also a number of changes on Romain’s car. And we want to see what these changes will bring us in terms of race pace. From Spa until the end of the season we hope that we will have the whole package up and running and it will help us defend our position.
Q: You just mentioned the new wing on Raikkonen’s car. Why did you pick the Finn to test the new package?
EB: Both cars and both drivers are treated exactly the same. Romain had a new front and rear wing in Valencia and Silverstone and now it was Kimi’s turn for something new. We decide that randomly.
Q: Everybody expects Lotus to win sooner rather than later. Which of your two guys do you see as the most likely to clinch victory?
EB: I don’t know. On paper Kimi is delivering more in terms of points and race finishes so he could be the first one to win. But I am pretty sure that in the end both are capable.
Q: You just said that you had favoured race pace over qualifying pace. Grosjean has been faster than Raikkonen several times in qualifying but Raikkonen has scored more points. Why is that?
EB: Sometimes it is just by accident and sometimes it is because Romain’s driving style is a little bit more aggressive than that of Kimi and that is only because we struggle to get his tyres up to temperature. Once we can combine Kimi’s qualifying and Romain’s race pace we should be in good shape.
Q: It’s mid-season and you know the strengths and weaknesses of Raikkonen and Grosjean now. Can you talk us through them?
EB: I don’t see much of a downside to Kimi to be honest. He came back to his speed level very quickly. I think he struggled a little bit with the strength and pushiness of the others and also with getting back into the Formula One format over weekends. But that is all history. Now he is there – and I would not be surprised if he won tomorrow. Romain is still building himself up. Many see him as a ‘fake’ rookie but I would disagree with that. Even if he did seven races two years ago he never had a real chance to bloom, so for me he is still in his first year. He is making mistakes – of course – because he is a youngster. But the good news is that he never repeats a mistake! He is learning, listening and getting stronger with every race.
Q: That sounds like there are almost no weaknesses and a lot of strengths…
EB: Yes. I think I have one of the best driver line-ups on the grid. They are fast and complement each other. Character-wise they are very different. It is not about liking or hating each other but respecting each other – and they do.
Q: You say that you have one of the best driver pairings on the grid. Who would you say has an equally good line-up?
EB: It looks like the Red Bull pair. But on the other hand you have to consider that there has been a huge shake-up at our team over the last two years and that has not happened at any of the other big teams. Now that the dust has settled and we are all moving in the same direction we now need some stability. If you take Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren or Mercedes they have had the same driver line-up for three years and this is what we are missing this year. We are missing stability. But first you have to build it.
Q: You said you could imagine Raikkonen winning the race, even from P10. What has to happen for him to win?
EB: First of all, there is no such thing as the perfect race weekend so you have to make the best of what you have. We are still learning to get the most out of our drivers but it is coming and Kimi is finding his way. Our car is fast enough in the race – so let’s see how it goes.