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Lotus frustration: Raikkonen gives away podium place

Daniel Reinhard
Lotus frustrated
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'Everything just has to fit together,' said Romain Grosjean on the Thursday before the Chinese Grand Prix. In Melbourne and Malaysia, the French only made four rounds. In Shanghai he saw the checkered flag for the first time. With sixth place there were even the first points of the season.

This time the lottery bad luck hit Kimi Räikkönen. The Finn started the race from fourth and, like Grosjean, was on a two-stop strategy. For a long time the Iceman was on a podium course. But in the end his tires deteriorated so badly that he lost twelve places within only two laps and dropped from second to 14th.

Raikkonen gambled away with the strategy

' It looked good up to the last ten laps, but then my tires began to wear out, 'says Raikkonen. 'I got stuck behind Felipe Massa for a long time and couldn't overtake him. I wasn't fast enough in the right places to get past him. But even if I had made it, it wouldn't have made much difference in the end result.' br>

The Finn made the last stop on lap 28. After that he still had half of the race ahead of him. 'We should have just made the stop three or four laps later, then he would have come through and finished second,' says team principal Eric Bouillier.

Chief Engineer Alan Permane says: 'We have to evaluate the data and see if three stops would have been better for us. But before the race everything spoke for two stops and Romain also benefited from that. Without the poker we played with Kimi, we would not have been in second place. That was the risk, that we entered. '

Frustration at Lotus

Before the race, Raikkonen had actually assumed that the warmer temperatures would benefit the Lotus E20. But it was still not warm enough. This was supported by the fact that the team was faster and coped better with the soft tires - in contrast to many others in the field who were better off the hard tires.

'We're frustrated,' says Boullier. 'In a perfect race we would have finished second and fourth. Kimi's tires were at the end. It was dramatic. We knew we had an aggressive strategy, but we didn't expect the tires to deteriorate so severely.'

Lotus wants to be in the top six in Bahrain

In the constructors' championship, Lotus is now in sixth place with 24 points. For the race in Bahrain is Boullieroptimistic. 'The good thing is that the car is fast. Romain had a great race. I don't see any reason why we shouldn't get good results in the future. We assume that Bahrain suits our car. Both cars should be in the top six drive. '

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