SILVERSTONE, June 30th, 2013 (F1plus/G. Keilloh).- Kimi Raikkonen and his Lotus team were left to rue the decision not to pit for new tyres under the late-race safety car in today’s British Grand Prix. Raikkonen reckons the decision cost him a “pretty easy” second place. Instead, he trailed home down in fifth as the more freshly-booted Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso, along with Lewis Hamilton, sailed past in the final six-lap shoot out of green flag racing.
Raikkonen put in a combative drive to rise to second place, having started in eighth, at the point that then-leader Sebastian Vettel retired. That was until the late safety car, caused perhaps ironically by Vettel’s retirement.
The Finn said after the race: “I tried to hold on at the end of the race, but with tyres that were maybe twenty laps older than the others’ it was impossible to keep them behind. It’s a shame as the race went pretty well until then; we had good pace and looked set for a pretty easy P2, but this is racing sometimes.”
The Finn also noted that today’s race continued his recent run of poor luck: ‘It’s three races now where we haven’t had the result we maybe expect, but hopefully if we can have a bit more luck and also get rid of some of the mistakes we’ll be able to get back to the front.’
Lotus Team Principal Eric Boullier also admitted that not pitting under the safety car was an error, and apologised to his charge: “Our strategy was great today until the last safety car when we should have called Kimi in to save at least one position and make the podium.
“Unfortunately, we made the wrong call for which we apologise to Kimi and to the team. This sometimes happens and it isn’t easy to manage when you have so many safety car periods.”
Boullier was nevertheless positive that the car’s upgrades on show this weekend worked well, and that the Enstone team could look forward to the German Grand Prix next week with confidence: “Most of the upgrades we brought here seem to be working which is a positive sign, although we did struggle a bit in qualifying to generate good grip from the tyrer.
“We will be in Germany in a few days’ time where we’re confident we will be competitive and aiming to make amends.”
And Lotus’s other pilot Romain Grosjean had an even more frustrating time. He had to retire late on due to front wing damage, and reckoned his British Grand Prix was a race to forget: “We don’t know if it (the front wing damage) was caused by some debris or something to do with the fact that it was a new part; we will be working to find out the root of the problem.
“Before that my race wasn’t going quite to plan and we were suffering with tyre performance. This was related to the front wing issue which started earlier in the race. The safety cars didn’t really go our way either so it’s a race I’d rather forget. Let’s go to Germany and have a better weekend.”