Romain Grosjean finished sixth and Kimi Räikkönen seventh in today’s Malaysian Grand Prix from the Sepang International Circuit. The team failed to fight at the very front but still gathered some points from this difficult GP weekend.
A wet but rapidly drying track saw all competitors start on Pirelli’s intermediate tyres, with both Romain and Kimi moving to medium then hard compound dry tyres as the race progressed. Kimi keeps up his run of consecutive points finishes but falls to second in the Drivers’ Championship, behind today’s race winner Sebastian Vettel. The team maintains second position in the Cosntructors’ Championship, with third placed Ferrari on an equal 40 points.
Kimi Räikkönen, P7, E21-03: “Although the car felt very good on Friday, yesterday and today have been pretty difficult. Since Saturday morning it has not been behaving as we expected for some reason, especially in the wet where we really struggled for grip. It was a tough race and I lost part of my front wing at the start which didn’t help, but at least we scored a few points which is better than coming away with nothing. If we can get the car back to how it was in Australia then I’m sure we’ll be at the front again.”
Romain Grosjean, P6, E21-01: “I think we can be quite happy with the result today. It was a tough race, starting wet and finishing dry, but that’s what you expect in Malaysia. I spent a lot of time stuck behind Felipe [Massa] in the middle phase of the race and I’m sure if I could have passed him earlier then I would have stayed ahead, but by the end my tyres were finished so it was best just to let him through. It’s not the result we would have wanted at the beginning of the weekend, but at the end of the day it’s more points for the team and we’ll try to come back stronger in Shanghai.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "It’s not been the best day for us, but when you take into account our qualifying positions and the difficult start for both drivers I think the points we take for sixth and seventh is a solid result. Unfortunately with the conditions today we didn’t see the full potential of the car, and the time we lost at the start was always going to be difficult to catch up. To finish within a reasonable distance of the leaders was a good effort from both drivers and also the team in terms of our strategy. With a normal weekend I’m sure we can expect some stronger results.”
James Allison, Technical Director: “This weekend feels like a case of what might have been. We had a car on Friday which looked extremely promising, but unfortunately that didn’t translate into the sort of result we’d expect. Qualifying tenth and eleventh – particularly in the wet – was not an ideal start, with the consequence that within seven laps we were around thirty seconds from the front. Our progress thereafter was actually quite respectable so it’s frustrating to have lost touch with the race at such an early stage, but I’m confident we’ll be delivering some stronger results in the coming races.”
Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader: “A double points finish today for the team after some good racing. Sepang is a hard challenge for the engines with high top speeds needed for the straights and low speed driveability for the hairpin turns, plus managing the fuel consumption is tricky considering the changeable weather. We moved to a second engine this weekend to give more flexibility later in the season – looking at how tight things are at the front having this margin could be useful later on.”