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Belgium Grand Prix – Results: 3rd

Source: autosport.com | lotusf1team.com | twitter

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Kimi drove a strong race to clinch another podium position in difficult circumstances, while Romain’s race was over before it had begun after a collision at turn one ruled the Frenchman out of the Belgian Grand Prix.

Warm and dry conditions at the idyllic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps provided a perfect backdrop for the Belgian Grand Prix. Unfortunately for Lotus F1 Team however, the race itself did not get off to such an ideal start.

Within metres of the start, Romain’s day came to an early and abrupt end as a collision heading into the first corner took both the Frenchman, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez out of action.

Kimi by contrast had managed to jump a position to P2, and remained pinned to the back of leader Jenson Button as the safety car circulated allowing the marshals to clear the debris. At the re-start however, the Finn lost ground to the McLaren ; subsequently being passed by Nico Hulkenberg and shortly afterwards Michael Schumacher.

With his white marked medium compound Pirelli tyres not giving the levels of grip desires, the team pitted the Iceman for a fresh set of hard rubber on lap eleven and immediately reaped the rewards; Kimi setting the fastest lap of the race, leapfrogging Nico Hulkenberg and flying past Nico Rosberg with just a few laps.

After pitting once more for another set of hard tyres, the Finn found himself embroiled in an intense battle with Michael Schumacher ; the Finn pulling off a great pass around the outside of the final chicane before being re-passed by the German down the Kemmel straight thanks to issues with the E20’s KERS.

Undeterred, the Iceman pulled of a daring and spectacular move into Eau Rouge to reclaim P3, where he would remain for the remainder of the race to claim a hard-earned podium.

Post-race quotes:

Kimi speaking to BBC“We did not have much speed. Considering how difficult the handling was and how tricky the car was to drive I am very happy to finish third. I wasn’t expecting a very easy race and it turned out to be very difficult. The first few laps on new tyres were good and then I started sliding. We had a bit more high downforce to get more grip which meant we struggled in a straight line. Michael passed me once and then he got me back. Even with DRS I could not pass him, so I had to take a chance to overtake him with KERS into Eau Rouge and he still almost got me back. It is better to finish third than not to finish. We didn’t win but we didn’t have the speed to win so we didn’t deserve to win. The last two races we had the speed but in races that you could not overtake. Here we did not have the speed.”

Classified:

Pos  Driver        Team                       Time
 1.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           1h29:08.530
 2.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           +    13.624
 3.  Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault              +    25.334
 4.  Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes       +    27.843
 5.  Massa         Ferrari                    +    29.845
 6.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +    31.244
 7.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +    53.374
 8.  Vergne        Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +    58.865
 9.  Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +  1:02.982
10.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +  1:03.783
11.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +  1:05.111
12.  Senna         Williams-Renault           +  1:11.529
13.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +  1:56.119
14.  Petrov        Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
15.  Glock         Marussia-Cosworth          +     1 lap
16.  Pic           Marussia-Cosworth          +     1 lap
17.  Kovalainen    Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
18.  De la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth               +     1 lap

Fastest lap: Senna, 1:52.822

Not classified/retirements:

Driver        Team                         On lap
Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth                 30
Maldonado     Williams-Renault             5
Perez         Sauber-Ferrari               1
Alonso        Ferrari                      1
Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes             1
Grosjean      Lotus-Renault                1

World Championship standings, round 12:

Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  Alonso       164        1.  Red Bull-Renault          272
 2.  Vettel       140        2.  McLaren-Mercedes          218
 3.  Webber       132        3.  Lotus-Renault             207
 4.  Raikkonen    131        4.  Ferrari                   199
 5.  Hamilton     117        5.  Mercedes                  112
 6.  Button       101        6.  Sauber-Ferrari             80
 7.  Rosberg       77        7.  Force India-Mercedes       59
 8.  Grosjean      76        8.  Williams-Renault           53
 9.  Perez         47        9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari         12
10.  Schumacher    35
11.  Massa         35
12.  Kobayashi     33
13.  Hulkenberg    31
14.  Maldonado     29
15.  Di Resta      28
16.  Senna         24
17.  Vergne         8
18.  Ricciardo      4

Video: Start crash, Kimi passes Schumacher in Eau Rouge, BBC post-race interview, Sky Sports post-race interview

 

Lotus team quotes:

Kimi Raikkonen – 3rd: “I made a pretty okay start, similar to Jenson [Button]’s and I overtook the Sauber. I saw a lot of action in the mirrors but luckily it missed me. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the pace today. My car wasn’t great all weekend and we couldn’t find a competitive setup. On new tyres it was okay, but we had to use a lot of downforce to prevent sliding. That meant we were very slow on the straight. You could see this in my battle with Michael [Schumacher]. Each time I passed him he just went straight back past down the Kemmel straight. My only chance was to go for a gap at Eau Rouge. Luckily it paid off and I managed to stay ahead of him that time. We didn’t have the pace today and it wasn’t an easy race, so P3 was not too bad.”

Romain Grosjean – DNF: “When your life is all about racing, not being allowed to attend an event is probably one of the worst experiences you can go through. That said, I do respect the verdict of the Stewards. I got a good start – despite being disturbed by Pastor’s early launch, which I think was the case for everybody at the front – and was heading into the first corner when the rear of my car made contact with the front of Lewis [Hamilton]’s. I honestly thought I was ahead of him and there was enough room for both cars ; I didn’t deliberately try to squeeze him or anything like that. This first corner situation obviously isn’t what anyone would want to happen and thankfully no-one was hurt in the incident. I wish to apologise to the drivers who were involved and to their fans. I can only say that today is part of a process that will make me a better driver.”

Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “It’s been a tough day for the team but we fully respect the Stewards’ decision. Romain won’t be driving at Monza but he still has our full support. We’ll announce the name of his replacement a bit later in the week. As far as the race is concerned, unfortunately we didn’t have the pace for Kimi to challenge Jenson [Button] or Sebastian [Vettel]. We had to look closely at the strategy during the race to see if we should switch to one stop, but in the end a podium finish still brings us some good points. Of course, everyone talks about ‘the win’, and this is something we all want. We were not fast enough for it today, so we all need to keep working hard for this goal.”

James Allison, Technical Director: “Kimi did a really good job to salvage third position today with a car which really wasn’t quick enough, contrary to all our expectations coming into the event. In actual fact, this has been one of our tougher weekends and we’re thankful that Kimi did his best to limit the damage to our Championship aspirations. Fortunately, Spa can be viewed as sufficiently distinct in its characteristics to mean that we’re not unduly worried about the car’s potential performance heading to the next races.” Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader “Getting a podium here is satisfying considering the challenge of the track, with nearly three quarters of the lap spent at full throttle. We introduced new units this weekend to maximise power on the straights and help overtaking. Wwe needed it today when Kimi made an awesome move to overtake Michal [Schumacher]. It bodes well for Monza though where a similar emphasis is placed on outright top speed.”

James Allison talks after the race about the weekend and Lotus development:

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7 responses

  1. MarkedOne

    Again fantastic performance by Kimi, also a good result even though setup was certainly not the best.Strategy was pretty much ok.WDC standings are now looking pretty good for KImi, it is also very important.

    Like

    September 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    • Yup, he said it was most difficult race so that says something… and of course it must’ve been difficult, for him not to win here lol Disappointed but the WDC is what counts. His racing with Schumi was frustrating but eye candy nonetheless!

      Like

      September 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm

  2. Amit

    Kimi great racing in not so good car . Again a let dwn by lotus.. Awsome driving by kimi. Its was a pleasure to watch him today.

    Like

    September 2, 2012 at 2:48 pm

  3. erix

    Kimi lost 1 second per lap in the 1st and 3rd sector, but gaining half second in the 2nd sector, lotus gave wrong setup.

    Like

    September 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm

  4. Gio

    Not trying to be a smart as* but I knew he wasn’t going to win, the gap Jenson made in quali was too big. I am very disappointed with Lotus tough, they are trying too hard to win but don’t actually win. They should start preparing how Kimi can win and not focus on the preparations of winning, there’s a huge difference.

    Like

    September 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm

  5. Gio

    *though
    Let me explain the difference while on this, Lotus are too scared of not performing (because of their overall performance last year) in races than they are of actually winning (so they are doing everything right except winning). They should change their mentality because they have the car and the driver (kimi not roman) but not the right mentality. Although I have to say they did everything right at Bahrain, but then it was Kimi’s fault.

    Like

    September 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm

  6. the problem was a low down force setup was hurting their tyres too much from sliding in the corners – according to kimi

    thats why they opted for high downforce therefore quick in S2,
    the loss of friday running could be due to them not getting the best setup
    I hope the double drs comes for monza and gives them the straight line advantage needed

    Like

    September 2, 2012 at 6:24 pm

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