Kimi Räikkönen took his third podium finish of the season and Romain Grosjean his first after a superb second and third place result in today’s Bahrain Grand Prix. This repeats the identical result that Lotus secured at the Bahrain Grand Prix last year.
The race didn't come without trouble however as Kimi suffered from an allergic reaction before he started the race. Romain Grosjean on the other hand had trouble on track. His first pit stop was earlier than anticipated due to track debris in the form of a McLaren front wing end-plate being scooped up by his right-hand-side radiator intake.
Kimi Räikkönen, P2, E21-03: “You’re never really happy if you don’t win, but I suppose second place is as close as you can get. I drove to the maximum and the car had the pace that we missed in qualifying yesterday so it was a pretty good result. We didn’t have the speed to challenge Sebastian [Vettel] today but we did have the pace to get both cars on the podium so I’m happy for the team.”
Romain Grosjean, P3, E21-02: “It’s great to be back on the podium and it’s a fantastic result for the team. It hasn’t been an easy start to the season for me, but we made good progress through the weekend and are now back to where we should be. I felt much more comfortable in the car and the result today is a deserved reward for everyone after all our hard work. It was a really enjoyable race with a lot of overtaking and a couple of tense moments along the way, so to come from P11 through to the podium is really satisfying. We’ve had consistency already, finishing every race in the points, but now it’s the big results we’re chasing and this is a very good start to that challenge.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "Here we are again, just like in 2012! This time around though it was much more difficult – especially after a qualifying performance which fell below our expectations – but we’ve shown flashes of pace throughout the weekend and confirmed that speed when it mattered today. The win was not quite within our reach after the start we made, but to come away with a double podium when the top six would maybe have been a more realistic pre-race target was a great performance from everybody involved. I’m delighted for the whole team here in Bahrain and back at Enstone; it’s a well-deserved result.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “Both drivers did a fantastic job today. We know our car is kind on tyres so we were able to play to those strengths and rectify the disappointment of qualifying yesterday. We chose an aggressive strategy with Romain, opting for a three-stop race from eleventh on the grid, and it worked perfectly. He was able to drive aggressively when asked and conserve his tyres when needed, so we are very happy as he delivered everything we wanted from him. With Kimi we used a two-stop strategy and relied on our long run pace. Considering he was suffering from an allergic reaction before he started the race it’s a very impressive performance indeed.”
Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader: “A great result today for the Enstone-Viry partnership, with a double podium consolidating the potential shown at the start of the season. Kimi again drove an impeccable race, while Romain’s podium was even more impressive considering that the collision with Perez near the start blocked one of the cooling ducts, sending the oil temperatures some 20°C higher than average! For the second year in a row Renault engines have locked out the podium in Bahrain, which gives a lot of positive energy for the start of the European season.”