Lotus and Kimi “lose their grips” in Malaysia
| Source: ts.fi | Translation courtesy of Nicole |
Kimi Räikkönen’s Lotus lost it’s victorious speed in one week – or rather in one night. Kimi was still the fastest man on the track on Friday in Malaysia. On Sunday Räikkönen whipped his Lotus into 7th and got only the 13th fastest laptime in his names.
The 56-lap long squeeze with a car that lost traction was a tough experience for Kimi.
When a dehydrated Räikkönen took another drinking bottle again from the team’s fridge, it fell on the floor right away.
“I can’t keep anything in my hands. That’s how tough it was to squeeze during the whole race,” Räikkönen laughed to Turun Sanomat.
“I was expecting us to be much more behind the lead when comparing it to how difficult our car proved to be in the race.”
The car munched downforce
The race started on a wet track with the same mid-term tires Lotus lost their grip with in qualification. Did it bug you when the weather was was like that right from the start?
“The rain didn’t bug me, what bugged me was the car not working. For some reason we lost more and more downforce during the whole race. It actually munched it. What can you do… We tried to do what we were able to do. The main thing is that we pulled off at least a few points from all of this.”
Räikkönen got even more difficulties after an accident in the start.
“I hit someone’s rear tire and my front wing lost a piece. It didn’t exactly help the speed.”
Räikkönen managed to make four overtakes, but he spent a lot of time in the so called dirty air behind McLaren’s Sergio Perez and Sauber’s Nico Hülkenberg.
“If the car would have been in a better ‘oxygen’ (lol, he means ‘stitch’ but couldn’t resist translating it), then I would have passed them quickly. But it became more and more difficult when losing downforce.”
Flaws found that need to be fixed
It’s clear that Lotus has to improve the car to the next race in China.
“If we get it to work in China like it worked on Friday in Malaysia then we have nothing to worry about. I guess we already know why the traction vanished, but it’s difficult to say for sure. On Saturday evening we found a few other flaws also. All the flaws should be fixed to China.”
Lotus had once again one pitstop less than the other top teams, but now the strategy didn’t work like it did in Australia.
“I don’t think that our position would have changed even if we had made one more pitstop. And I don’t think it would had happened in Australia either. With one more pitstop we could have raced flat out all the time and it wouldn’t had affected speed-wise at all when comparing to others.”
Crash course with Hülkenberg
Räikkönen clashed hard especially with Hülkenberg. They nearly crashed during the pitstop and then they clashed in a racing incident.
“These days you can basically come to the paddock lane as long as you leave some room, but he should not drive at me on the straight lane. Even if it didn’t change the end result in any way,” Räikkönen pulled Nico’s hair.
Hülkenberg defended himself by saying that he didn’t see properly when the fluid-tube had exploded inside his helmet which hindered the visibility.
In the end Räikkönen finally overtook Hülkenberg and made three other successful overtakes which required a lot of struggling.