Raikkonen: I’m still third in the Drivers Championship

LotusF1Team.com, 23 September 2012

Kimi Raikkonen fought back from twelfth on the grid to maintain his third position in the Drivers’ Championship with a battling sixth place in the Singapore Grand Prix. Romain Grosjean finished close behind in seventh after a gruelling race with two safety car periods and a number of retirements. The team remains fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, 95 points ahead of Mercedes in fifth and 14 behind Ferrari in third.

Both drivers started on Pirelli’s super soft compound.

Kimi pitted for his first set of soft compound tyres on lap 13, and his second set of softs just as the first safety car came out on lap 32.

Romain ptted for soft compound tyres on lap 14, and for his second set of softs under safety car conditions on lap 33.

Kimi Raikkonen
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
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.

Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader
A dramatic race that was quite difficult to manage on the engine side due to the two safety car periods. We had to play with the engine mixes a lot throughout the race to correct the fuel level and avoid finishing with too much. Both drivers did a good job to avoid the incidents on track and get a double points finish, which based on our grid position and overall performance this weekend is a very positive result. We are looking forward to Suzuka now, which should suit our car better.




 

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