Lotus F1 Team fought back from a disappointing qualifying session yesterday to show strong race pace, finishing the Italian Grand Prix in eighth and eleventh positions.
After an eventful first corner, Kimi Räikkönen pitted for a new front nose cone and tyres whilst Romain Grosjean continued despite a rear-end onslaught from another car. Following his first lap pit stop, Kimi was the second fastest car through the race, with a determined drive including multiple fastest laps.
Kimi remains in fourth in the Drivers’ Championship on 134 points, with Lewis Hamilton ahead on 141 and Mark Webber behind on 130 points. The team remains in fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship on 191 points from Ferrari’s 245 and well ahead of fifth-placed McLaren who have 66 points.
Kimi Raikkonen started from P11 with a new set of hard tyres, changing to new medium compound tyres on lap 1 where he also received a new front wing, and scrubbed medium tyres on lap 30. Romain Grosjean started from P13 on a new set of medium tyres, changing to a new set of hard compound tyres on lap 20.
Kimi Räikkönen, P11, E21-03: “When I lost the front wing I had to come in and change to a new one meaning an extra pit stop which we hadn’t planned. It’s not just the time in the pits, but you have to work your way through the field afterwards. We did a pretty good job of that and the car felt good, surprisingly good given where we were on Saturday. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do after the start to the race we had.”
Romain Grosjean, P8, E21-02: “It isn’t easy to follow another car with the aero configurations that we had for the race here but we got the best result we could have done having started in P13. Unfortunately we had a poor pit stop where we had an electronic problem and the light didn’t turn to green, so we lost a few seconds there. I think we could have come out in front of the two McLarens and the Toro Rosso, which would have made things a bit easier for a stronger result. I had a good battle with Lewis on the last lap. I think we did the best we could here in Monza and I hope that for Singapore we can get back to the level of performance that we had in Budapest.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "If you want to be competitive for the Championships you need to be able to fight every weekend at the front on Saturday as well as on Sunday. The positive from this weekend is that we showed fantastic race pace and both drivers drove exceptionally well. Romain withstood great pressure and performed great overtaking moves on both McLarens. Kimi fought back from a first lap incident in a superb display of his talents. The negative from this weekend is that we couldn’t qualify where we needed to be. The results at the end of the race aren’t rewarding for the team, but there are plenty of positives to take from the final European race of the season and we head to the final flyaway races with plenty of fight.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “Our damage was done yesterday by our poor qualifying positions. We actually had good race pace today and if you compare Kimi and Sebastian Vettel’s races, after Kimi’s first stop we only lost a second to Seb and we gained four seconds on Fernando [Alonso]. Seb won the race and Fernando finished second, so that gives an illustration of what could have been. We obviously will be dissecting where we lost the pace on Saturday and have some solace that we don’t visit another circuit of this level of downforce for the rest of the season as it certainly wasn’t beneficial for us in terms of qualifying. Starting where we did put us in the middle of the pack where incidents happen on the first lap and that was the case for both our drivers, but both made great recoveries.”
Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader: “Monza is always a tough race for engines with a high percentage of the lap spent flat out. Today the race was even harder. Kimi’s early stop meant he went down the pack and had to fight to regain position. Fuel consumption was considerably higher than that expected as a result, so we had to manage the settings very carefully to give him the power he needed to fight without running dry. Sadly he missed the points by under a second – on the strength of his drive he really deserved it and the car had the pace to score. Romain did a great job to keep hold of eighth, which is a more representative indication of where we are this weekend.”