Sweet and sour day for Lotus as Grosjean scores but Raikkonen bombs

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20 leads Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams Renault FW34. Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai, China, Sunday 15 April 2012.

Romain Grosjean on his way to scoring his first ever F1 points

Apr.15 (Reuters) France’s Romain Grosjean finally scored his first points in F1 on Sunday in a ‘sweet and sour’ Chinese Grand Prix for Lotus.

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen was heading for a podium finish before his tyres gave up

After two retirements in a row, and only a handful of laps under his belt due to a combination of errors and bad luck, Grosjean made it all the way to the chequered flag, in sixth place.

While the happy the 25-year-old could celebrate at last, his 2007 world champion team mate Kimi Raikkonen saw fistfuls of points slip from his grasp after going from second to 14th in the closing nine laps.

“It is getting more frustrating for us as we are clearly very close to achieving a very good result,” said team principal Eric Boullier.

“Twelve laps before the end of today’s race we had one car in P2 (second) and one car in P5 (fifth) with no more pit stops to go. Unfortunately we were a little bit too aggressive with our strategy.”

Raikkonen, the former Ferrari driver making his comeback this season after two years in rallying, could do nothing to hold off the field behind as his tyres lost performance.

The Finn had taken a bold two-stop strategy, the same as Mercedes‘ winner Nico Rosberg, but – in only his third race on Pirelli tyres – may have been too rough on the unfamiliar rubber to make it work.

“Eight laps before the end of the race, Kimi’s tyres were nearing the end of their life and, unfortunately, he got on the marbles (tyre debris) when [Sebastian] Vettel passed,” said Alan Permane, the team’s director of trackside operations.

“That was the end of his race, effectively, as he lost 10 places over the course of a lap.”

The points enabled Lotus to stay sixth overall on 24 points to Williams‘s 18.

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  • Alex

    Bad call by who ever is responsible for strategy. I think they were hoping for impossible (to keep podium).

    Kimi was obviously in troubles for at least 5 laps before he was overtaken (nice defensive drive) and was loosing a lot of time. If they pitted him at that time he would have been mega fast of fresh tyres fighting for points. 25 second pit stop would been plenty for him to come out near top 10. Instead they wasted time with bad tyres and lost positions with no tyres.

    I hope Eric Bouilier was covering for some one when he said “there was no other option with Kimi’s strategy” or they simply in denial – which is no good, they have good car they need to be open minded.

    ps. Making Kimi drive defensive instead of giving him fresh tyres to set flying lap is sin in it self!

  • vX-2

    Yep, that strategy is pretty stupid, considering how much faster and gains that you can make per lap on a new set of tires, as well as how worn out others’ tires, Lotus should have gone through with their 3 pit stops. Even if it’s out of top10 after a 3rd pitstop, Kimi should be able to claw his way back up and make those overtaking maneuver easily and be in the points at least.