Photo: Lotus F1 Team.
China was a tough Grand Prix for Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus). After qualifying P4 and running as high as 2nd late in the race an excursion into the marbles and tire degradation saw him plummet to 14th by the checkered flag. Teammate Romain Grosjean helped carry the team flag, coming in 6th after starting in P10 on the grid. Despite the tough race in China, Raikkonen's woes can't hold a candle to Michael Schumacher at Mercedes, who has 1 point and 2 DNFs to show after three races in what is clearly a very fast car.
Kimi shared same words on the Lotus
website after the race:
Kimi, with about ten laps to go things were looking so promising; it’s amazing what difference a couple of laps can make...
It’s a shame the race ended the way it did. We tried to run a two stop strategy as in theory it was the fastest option, but we just ran out of grip at the end as the tyres faded away. We spent a long time stuck behind Felipe (Massa) and just couldn’t get close enough down the straight to pass. In the end I don’t know how different the result would have been as once the tyres fell away it was difficult to stay on track, but it was a risk we took and it unfortunately it didn’t pay off.
Do you think it was worth taking a risk like that when you found yourself at the front of the field to try and potentially pull something out of the bag?
Taking chances can go one way or the other, that’s why it’s a risk. We had two options and we opted for a certain strategy which we thought would work out and potentially bring us a good result but it didn’t work out that way. We knew it was going to be a close call and maybe it wasn’t the right decision, but that’s just the way things go sometimes.
It was heartbreaking watching the events that unfolded in the final stage of the race; talk us through it from your view
Up until the last few laps things were going well; we had good pace and a chance for a good result, but when the tyres give up it’s almost impossible to compete at the same level. When Sebastian (Vettel) got past it all went downhill very quickly; I got out onto the marbles and had no control of the car. From there it was just a case of trying to stay on the road. I think we lost something like ten places in one lap; unfortunately there was nothing we could do to stop it.
Your pace at the start of the race, and even on the worn tyres before they faded away seemed to be strong; how did the car feel today?
The car was very good which is the encouraging thing we can take from today. We definitely had the speed and if we hadn’t been caught up behind other cars it could have been a different story, but you never know. There’s always room for improvement and we’ll learn from this weekend to go for a better performance at the next race.