Michael Bailey , Formula One correspondent
Monday, June 25, 2012
Kimi Räikkönen picked up his third podium of the season to ease the pain of Lotus missing out on race victory once again.
The Hethel-backed outfit were among the front runners all weekend in Valencia, with Romain Grosjean in serious contention for victory until an alternator failure left him – and race leader Sebastian Vettel – on the sidelines.
Those European Grand Prix retirements left the door open for Räikkönen, but he was held up by Lewis Hamilton to the point that victory was beyond his reach.
Instead, Fernando Alonso saw out a superb and emotional home victory – although it was not enough for Ferrari to replace Lotus at third in the constructors’ championship.
Yet it is clear what continues to bug Räikkönen.
“Second place is OK but the win is what I really wanted,” said the Finn. “We didn’t quite have the pace for it today. I got a good start but I was blocked by Pastor (Maldonado) at the first right-hander and lost quite a few places which put me a bit behind.
“We made a good recovery from that position and had quite a hard fight with a few people – overtaking and being overtaken. I couldn’t get the tyres up to temperature quickly enough after the safety car, and I made a small mistake on the re-start lap too.
“I was able to fight back as we had good race pace again. Today was close but the race win was just out of reach.”
However – and understandably – team principal Eric Boullier was happy to take the sizeable positives from the Enstone efforts.
“It’s a good result for the team and for Kimi – second brings a lot of points, and we also didn’t lose ground on the teams ahead of us in the championship standings,” said the Frenchman.
“On the other side of the coin, it’s been a disappointing day for Romain as he was in such a good position for at least a podium finish.
“This is racing, and we will work closely with our partners to ensure we don’t see a failure like this again in the future.
“Both drivers and the team worked very well this weekend and we have shown that if we achieve a good qualifying position we can fight for the win.”
The teams travel to Silverstone next for the British Grand Prix, on the first weekend of July.