Kimi Räikkönen took his second podium finish of the season with a strong second place in the Chinese Grand Prix. Despite a rearranged nose and front wing – courtesy of contact with Sergio Perez’s McLaren – Kimi fought back after a poor start from the front row of the grid. Romain Grosjean endured a more difficult race, with ninth place his reward at the chequered flag.
Kimi keeps up his run of consecutive points finishes and retains second in the Drivers’ Championship on a tally of 49 points; three behind leader Sebastian Vettel. The team falls one place to third position in the Constructors’ Championship on 60 points, with Ferrari now ahead with 73 points.
Both drivers started on scrubbed sets of the soft compound (yellow) Pirelli tyre. Kimi pitted for new mediums (white) on laps 6, 21 and 34, Romain on laps 7, 23 and 37. Kimi incurred damage to his front wing after an early collision with Sergio Perez.
Kimi Räikkönen, P2, E21-03: “Second wasn’t quite what we wanted, but in the circumstances it was the best that we could manage today. I’m not 100% happy because we didn’t win, but it is what it is and second place is a good result after a bad start and the incident with Sergio [Perez]. It was quite difficult out there; obviously the car is not designed like that otherwise we would use it all the time, but I was surprised how good it was still. Of course there were some handling issues which was not ideal, but we just had to try to live with it and we still had pretty okay speed.”
Romain Grosjean, P9, E21-01: “It was a long, tough race and again we not able to make it work quite as well as we wanted. I’m definitely not happy with ninth place; we started P6 and thought we had a good chance to end up within the top five, but unfortunately we could not manage it. I did as much as I could, but I couldn’t get the performance I wanted and being in traffic of course affects this. It was good to score some points for the team, but I want more in Bahrain for sure.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "It’s a good result for the team today. Kimi showed once more why he’s one of the very best drivers in the world by being one of the fastest on track despite sustaining damage to his car. As a team we were able to give him a good strategy allowing us to beat Lewis [Hamilton] and Mercedes in a close battle. Romain had a more difficult day, but he scored points in another race which is positive and we feel he’s reached a turning point now where things will start coming together. Without the poor start and without the incident for Kimi then we definitely would have fought for a win today.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “It was an eventful race and good fun too. We had an interesting start with Kimi dropping back, but once we got onto the prime tyres things went pretty smoothly. There was no way we could get past Lewis on track; even though we had very similar pace and were even perhaps quicker than him. This meant we had to achieve it during the pit stops which worked perfectly. Kimi lost quite a bit of downforce with his front wing damage, otherwise he should have been able to challenge Fernando [Alonso] for the lead. We lost around 0.25 seconds per lap due to the damage to Kimi’s car. It was a more difficult day for Romain who was struggling a little bit with his tyres, but overall for the team we had both cars in the points which is great.”
Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader: "A very positive result today for Kimi that gives important points for both championships. Tyre usage and degradation has once again proved to be the story of the weekend, and an area we have worked particularly hard on to deliver power smoothly with little wheelspin so the tyre life is extended as much as possible. This year’s racing is closer than ever so we’ll keep pushing in Bahrain to maximize every area we can and stay to the front of the field."