A good recovery from Lotus F1 Team after a tricky weekend saw Kimi and Romain produce strong drives to bring home a useful haul of points from today’s Singapore Grand Prix under the bright lights of the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
Lap 01: Solid start for both E20s; RG maintains P8, KR past HUL and up to P11
Lap 04: The team reports loss of telemetry from RG’s car
Lap 05: KR in the DRS zone behind MSC; clearly quicker but being held up behind the German
Lap 11: MSC pits, finally releasing KR into free air; the Finn instantly setting personal best sector times
Lap 13: Tyres start to fade for KR; passed by VET and pitting on the following lap for soft tyres
Lap 14: RG follows his team-mates lead; returning to base for fresh soft rubber and losing a place to Nico Rosberg in the process after a slow stop
Lap 16: KR progressively increasing his pace with his new set of tyres; fastest in the final sector
Lap 21: KR continues to up the ante; fastest first sector now for the Finn despite battling with MSC and SEN
Lap 23: HAM retires; KR & RG up to P8 / P10 respectively
Lap 31: Intense battle as MAL & ALO join KR & MSC in a tightly packed bunch
Lap 33: Safety car; Narain Kartikeyan hits the wall and stops on track, KR & RG pit for the final time for softs
Lap 35: MAL out of the race; hydraulic problem forcing retirement, both drivers up a spot
Lap 39: Safety car peels off; KR & RG maintain position at the re-start
Lap 40: Another safety car period; MSC collides with the back of VER promoting KR a further 2 positions
Lap 42: Tense re-start as KR & RG almost collide at the first corner
Lap 48: RG allows KR past; the Finn quicker in the final phase of the race
Lap 58: Chequered flag; race drawn to an early conclusion after running over the 2hr limit. KR P6, RG P7
Both cars took to grid at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on the red marked Super Soft Compound Pirelli tyres as the lights went out to signal the start of the Singapore Grand Prix. Solid starts for both drivers saw Romain maintain his P8 grid slot while Kimi passed Nico Hulkenberg to move up one position to P11.
After a close encounter with Mark Webber in the opening lap, Romain’s engineers reported a loss of telemetry from his E20 shortly afterwards making life a bit trickier for the Frenchman. Kimi meanwhile was closing right up to the back of Michael Schumacher; moving within the DRS zone but frustrated in his attempts to pass the German despite showing significantly more speed.
With the Mercedes driver pitting for fresh rubber on lap eleven, the Finn was finally released; setting fastest sector times immediately. Unfortunately for the 2007 World Champion however, the damage had already been done to his tyres, forcing him to pit for the yellow marked soft compound Pirelli tyres just two laps later after being passed by Sebastian Vettel.
Following his team-mates example, Romain returned to base the next lap for a switch to the soft rubber; dropping a position to Nico Rosberg after a slow stop. Kimi meanwhile has clearly found the groove on his fresh tyres; fastest times in the first and third sectors moving the Finn right back onto the gearbox of Michael Schumacher ahead.
Bad fortune for Lewis Hamilton at less than half distance brought a positional gain for both Kimi and Romain. As the McLaren driver retired from the race with a gearbox failure, the Finn and Frenchman were promoted a position apiece; both E20s now into the points scoring positions.
An intense battle between Kimi, Michael Schumacher, Pastor Maldonado and Fernando Alonso was interrupted as Narain Karthikeyan parked his HRT in the barriers on entry to the bridge corner; the team reacting quickly to bring Kimi and Romain in for their final stops as the safety car emerged.
With Pastor Maldonado forced to retire with hydraulic issues, both Michael Schumacher and Jean-Eric Vergne crashing out after a coming together at the re-start and another safety car period ensuing, Romain and Kimi found themselves up to P6 and P7 as the race resumed once more. Tense moments on the Lotus F1 Team pit wall followed as the pair almost touched into the first corner, before the Frenchman eventually let his Finnish counterpart through shortly afterwards; the 2007 World Champion quicker in the latter phase of the race.
After all the interruptions, the race was eventually brought to a halt before the allotted 61 laps, as the two hour limit was exceeded. A decent result for the team after a difficult weekend saw Kimi bring his E20 home in P6 with Romain in close attention; P7 for the Frenchman on his return to the cockpit.
Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 2h00:26.144 2. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 8.959 3. Alonso Ferrari + 15.227 4. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 19.063 5. Rosberg Mercedes + 34.759 6. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 35.700 7. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 36.600 8. Massa Ferrari + 42.800 9. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 45.800 10. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 47.100 11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 50.600 12. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap 13. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap 14. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap 15. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap (*) 16. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap 17. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap 18. Senna Williams-Renault + 2 laps 19. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 2 laps Fastest lap: Hulkenberg, 1:51.033 (*) Pending 20-second penalty Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 38 Schumacher Mercedes 38 Maldonado Williams-Renault 36 Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 30 Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 22 World Championship standings, round 14: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Alonso 194 1. Red Bull-Renault 298 2. Vettel 165 2. McLaren-Mercedes 261 3. Raikkonen 149 3. Ferrari 245 4. Hamilton 142 4. Lotus-Renault 231 5. Webber 133 5. Mercedes 136 6. Button 119 6. Sauber-Ferrari 100 7. Rosberg 93 7. Force India-Mercedes 75 8. Grosjean 82 8. Williams-Renault 54 9. Perez 65 9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 14 10. Massa 51 11. Di Resta 44 12. Schumacher 43 13. Kobayashi 35 14. Hulkenberg 31 15. Maldonado 29 16. Senna 25 17. Vergne 8 18. Ricciardo 6
Kimi Raikkonen – 6th: After the result in qualifying today’s race was not too bad, but I think we had a chance to do a bit better. We weren’t quick enough to be fighting for the podium but the first safety car didn’t help us and maybe we could have gained an extra place without that. We were definitely faster than Michael [Schumacher] and Nico [Rosberg] but we ended up stuck behind them for most of the race which was frustrating. It’s so hard to overtake here that you have to rely on passing people in the pit stops or on someone making a mistake. I’m still third in the Drivers’ Championship but we’ve got some improvements to make for the next races to be fighting with the cars in front. Hopefully we can make a step forward in Japan and take it from there.
Romain Grosjean – 7th: It was a tough race but not a bad result in the end. I made a good start, managed to hold position when things got quite close through the first few corners and the car felt pretty good throughout. Our performance was much better than what we would have expected at the start of the weekend. Of course, I dropped a position to Kimi as well ; he was quicker than me towards the end of the race and there was no sense in holding him up. It’s never easy as a driver to let someone past – even if it is your team-mate – but we need to be intelligent in these circumstances. My target is to be as close to Kimi as I can in terms of pace and we achieved that today, so after a difficult start to the weekend I think we can be pleased with this result.
Eric Boullier, Team Principal; We had a difficult start to the weekend but the team did a good job to recover. Qualifying was frustrating after both cars showed strong pace in Q1 and the first part of Q2 but ultimately fell short of what we were hoping for in the end. The race pace from both cars was good and although we were unlucky with the first safety car our strategy worked well. After a difficult weekend for us Kimi is still third in the Drivers’ Championship and we have not lost too much ground to McLaren and Red Bull in the Constructors’ standings so that is a big positive. The fact that we feel our lack of performance here was quite unexpected shows our ambition and our priority for the rest of the season will be to make sure we’re in the sort of positions we know we can achieve right from the start of each weekend.
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: It hasn’t been a great weekend for us, so to salvage sixth and seventh is something of a result in the circumstances. We took a gamble with Kimi’s second stop, but he was caught by the safety car coming out as he left the pit lane. We certainly didn’t have the pace to challenge the front runners today and after a difficult qualifying session it was difficult to get through the field. It’s clear we need to do a better job in qualifying to enable us to achieve better race results.