Lotus leaves Singapore with a feeling of under achievement

(L to R): Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20 and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E20. Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday 23 September 2012.

Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen during the Singapore GP

Sep.24 (Reuters) World championship contender Kimi Raikkonen bemoaned the narrow Marina Bay Street Circuit as he struggled to weave his Lotus through the Singapore Grand Prix traffic and lost ground in the title race.

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 with Gerard Lopez (FRA) Genii Capital. Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday 23 September 2012.The 2007 world champion finished sixth in Sunday’s race and dropped a further seven points behind leader Fernando Alonso and now trails the Ferrari driver by 45 with six rounds remaining after the Spaniard’s third place finish.

Paul Di Resta claimed fourth for Force India while Nico Rosberg was fifth for Mercedes but Raikkonen believed he could have finished ahead of the Mercedes driver.

“We were definitely faster than Michael [Schumacher] and Nico but we ended up stuck behind them for most of the race which was frustrating,” the Finn, who started the race in 12th, told reporters of the two Mercedes drivers.

“It’s so hard to overtake here that you have to rely on passing people in the pitstops or on someone making a mistake.”

Thankfully for Raikkonen, Schumacher did make a mistake and slammed into the back of Jean Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso to end the duo’s race on lap 38.

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1. Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Qualifying, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Saturday 22 September 2012.Raikkonen’s team mate Romain Grosjean then moved aside to allow the Finn through and pick up eight points instead of six to keep his slim title hopes alive.

“I’m still third in the drivers’ championship but we’ve got some improvements to make for the next races to be fighting with the cars in front. Hopefully we can make a step forward in Japan [Oct.7] and take it from there.”

Raikkonen moved above McLaren‘s Lewis Hamilton, who retired when leading, with a gearbox failure.

Grosjean said he did not enjoy letting Raikkonen past but understood the position of the team.

“Of course, I dropped a position to Kimi. He was quicker than me towards the end of the race and there was no sense in holding him up,” Grosjean told reporters.

2012 Singapore Grand Prix - Sunday Marina Bay Circuit, Singapore. 23rd September 2012. Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus E20 Renault.  World Copyright:Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic ref: Digital Image _MG_6189“It’s never easy as a driver to let someone past – even if it is your team mate – but we need to be intelligent in these circumstances.”

The seventh place finish, though, was of some comfort to the Frenchman on his return to the track after he was banned from the Italian grand Prix earlier this month for causing a first corner pile-up in Belgium.

Grosjean had been criticised for his driving style after being involved in a number of incidents prior to the crash in Belgium, but on Sunday he earned praise for avoiding problems.

“Both drivers did a good job to avoid the incidents on track and get a double points finish, which based on our grid position and overall performance this weekend is a very positive result,” Renault Sport F1 Team Support leader at Lotus, Ricardo Penteado said.

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  • Joe Kinnear

    I noticed one thing about Kimi.. he always seems to get stuck behind Schumi at some point in the race. I don’t remember for how many races, but seems to be a lot of times. And when he finally gets to pass him (which is really tough, it’s Schumi!), the leaders are too far. Anyways if he finishes 2nd or 3rd overall at the end of the season it’ll still be an awesome comeback!

  • hillside

    still probable!

  • Kimi4WDC

    Oh really Lotus? and what about other two races?

    @Joe – well, you are exactly right. For last three races this was exactly the case. It seems Lotus need more proof of that their race pace does not count, unless they can compromise and get ahead of Mercedes and Force India.

    Also their tyre degradation counts for nothing when they spend half of the race behind a slower car. Can as well qualify better by sacrificing some tyres.

  • Hawk

    cannot finish on the WDC podium. Button will and even Webber might overhaul him. I will not mention Lewis, duh..

  • f1 fan

    We should not forget that hes still driving a lotus and not a mclaren or ferrari, and he came to F1 after two years of absence from the sport. They had a pretty strong car at the beginning of the season, but dunno what happened then, hope Double Drs works in Japan !!!