Kimi Raikkonen took fifth while Romain Grosjean finished seventh in a fast-paced and intense Korean Grand Prix today. Raikkonen maintains third position in the drivers’ championship on 167 points; 42 from Fernando Alonso ahead and with an increased 14 point buffer to Lewis Hamilton behind. The team remains fourth in the constructors’ championship on 255 points; 29 behind McLaren and 119 in front of Mercedes.
Both drivers started on Pirelli’s super soft compound tyres. Raikkonen pitted for his first set of soft rubber on lap 14, his second on lap 35. Grosjean stopped for his first set of softs on lap 13, his second on lap 31.
“I think this was about where we should have been today. The yellow flags at the start didn’t help when we were fighting with Felipe (Massa) but even so we didn’t quite have the speed to match the Red Bulls and Ferraris. We also lost quite a bit of time behind Lewis (Hamilton) – mainly because the new exhaust system means you lose a little bit of power so it was hard to get past – but with a few more practice sessions I’m sure we’ll learn a lot more to be able to improve it. I was pretty much on my own at the end but we had to keep pushing to maintain position and it wasn’t so easy. The gap to Sebastian (Vettel) in the championship is quite big now so it will be very difficult to catch him, but we’ll keep pushing all the way.”
“For sure I was a bit nervous starting the race today, but we did a lot of work this week trying to understand a few things and it’s certainly helped. It wasn’t the easiest start; there was contact behind me at Turn 3 and I took evasive action but after that it was quite straight forward. I struggled on the last set of tyres as I had graining straight away meaning the performance was not great during the final stint. Maybe we could have achieved one place better – I think I now know every detail of Force India’s car after spending so much time battling with Nico (Hulkenberg) – but I’m happy to make it to the chequered flag after a good, clean race.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal
“We knew we would not be fighting for the win here, and fifth for Kimi was the maximum we could have achieved today. We scored a good tally of points in the constructors’ championship and although third position is slowly edging away from us with just four races left now we’re not ready to give up. It was good to see Romain drive very sensibly despite all the pressure that is on his shoulders; I think he is learning from this experience and it will only make him a stronger driver. Kimi’s racecraft was impressive as usual; his battle with Lewis (Hamilton) showed real class and he was maybe unlucky not to have been closer to the leading pack after being held up for so long. We will have the Coandă exhausts on both cars in India which should help us in our fight.”
James Allison, Technical Director
“We’ve finished in our starting positions which is solid if ultimately unspectacular. In the first stint Kimi was able to live with the pace of the front runners and had it not been for a costly period spent tucked up behind Lewis (Hamilton) I think he could probably have stayed in touch with the leading group. We were also pleased with Romain’s performance; he achieved what we had asked of him by keeping his nose clean and bringing the car home to score valuable points for the team. We didn’t exactly set the world on fire today, but we can take some comfort from the fact we were more on the pace here than we have been since Hungary.”
Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader
“A good double points finish today to keep the momentum in the championship. We used the Suzuka engines on both cars this weekend and worked with the chassis team to optimise the Coandă exhaust system on Kimi’s car. We have made solid progress in this area and with two weeks between now and the next event we will be able to further optimise the engine torque maps to be closer to the podium in India.”