March 10 2014 Latest news:
Michael Bailey , Formula One correspondent
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Hethel-backed Lotus excelled on race day once again as they bagged 18 championship points to take the short distance from Silverstone to Enstone.
Once again the Norfolk marque struggled in qualifying, but came alive in the race. However, despite coming home fifth and sixth respectively Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean will probably still feel a bit of the what-ifs given how strong the E20 looked during a glorious British Grand Prix race day.
Raikkonen quietly went about his business, before just failing to pinch fourth off Felipe Massa’s Ferrari in the final laps.
Grosjean’s afternoon was far more eventful, picking up damage in the opening lap and finding himself at the back of the field – albeit clocking lap times on a par with Fernando Alonso at the front. Indeed, Raikkonen also posted the fastest lap of anyone on Sunday afternoon.
Lotus could not prevent the team from Maranello overtaking them in the constructors’ championship – but they still remain third in the standings after punishing McLaren for their poor weekend.
“It’s been a difficult one where the weather conditions made for something of a lottery in qualifying,” said team principal Eric Boullier – Lotus had started from sixth and ninth on the grid.
“But once again we’ve had a good race. If we want to do better, we have to improve our starting positions.
“Romain had a battle to come back from an early stop to replace his front wing; he was very fast and very strong from then on. Kimi had a very good race too. As a team, we had good strategies, our car was fast and consistent, and the positions have yielded good points. We are still missing something to get the final piece of the jigsaw, but it’s a nice frustration to have.”
From languishing in 2011, the team has been disappointed to miss out on a win this season – and victory may well be the consequence of that final piece of the jigsaw fitting into place.
Grosjean’s drive was superb, cutting through the field in style – exemplified by two bold moves through Maggotts to displace Lewis Hamilton and then Nico Rosberg.
“I’m happy with my race,” said the Frenchman, seventh in the championship. “Unfortunately I had an incident on the first corner at the start where I was on the outside of Lewis and a Force India hit me.
“That’s when I thought our race was going to be seriously compromised, but the team did a fantastic job in giving me a great race strategy and we believed in ourselves to go for long stints on the tyres.
“I was battling hard, but trying to save those at the same time. We both scored good points for the team and it’s been a good day.”