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Kimi Räikkönen in China: The Iceman stays cool despite the damage

Lotus
Raikkonen cannot be stopped by accident
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E s happened in the 16th round. Kimi Raikkonen crashed Sergio Perez's McLaren in the rear. 'It was a pretty hard bump. I was amazed that I could drive at all and that the car didn't feel that much worse,' reported Raikkonen. In fact, he felt more understeer, which Lotus corrected with a steeper flap angle of attack during the following pit stop.

'This disrupted the flow to the rear. Kimi no longer had full confidence in his car when braking and in traffic,' explained chief engineer Alan Permane. Raikkonen added mumbling: 'The tires degrade faster than they otherwise would have been the case.'

Battered Lotus as quickly as intact Mercedes

The Finn finished second behind Fernando Alonso, 10.1 seconds behind. 'Despite the damage that cost us 0.25 seconds per lap, we were as fast as Hamilton. We passed that with the better pit stop. Without our problem we could have fought for victory with Alonso,' believes Permane. His driver is not so sure: 'It is hypothetical to calculate what would have been possible. It would certainly have been faster because our car was not designed for a wing with this damage.'

Alonso was in the finale his engineers whistled back and answered despite 1.40 laps: 'I don't know how to slow down.' So he still had reserves. It would have been difficult for Raikkonen to attack the Spaniard as well. Still, the lotus gave out its calling card again. Anyone who drives a badly battered car as fast as Lewis Hamilton does in an intact one is a real candidate for the World Championship. Strategy not planned

Raikkonen would never have dared a two-stop strategy. 'That would have been a mistake as well as the Vettel strategy,' says Permane. 'We never understood why Red Bull took such risks. Anyone who starts from ninth place on the grid shouldn't believe that they have a trouble-free race. You have to expect someone like Hulkenberg to drive you around at some point.'>

Changing your nose would have cost too much time

But why doesn't Lotus have a nose on Raikkonen's carchanged after losing ten seconds with the tattered wing over 40 laps? 'Because we would have lost just as much by changing the nose,' replies Permane. Team owner Gerard Lopez added another explanation: 'Kimi would have fallen into a bunch with many cars. He would have lost even more time. When he went back out on the track, he was still three and a half seconds ahead of this group.'

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