November 17th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Romain Grosjean delivered an impressive drive to split the Red Bulls on the podium in Austin. It's the sixth time Grosjean has visited the podium in what has been a very strong 2013 season for the Frenchman. Heikki Kovalainen finished 15th in the second Lotus after a tough Sunday afternoon.
Grosjean was full of praise for his Lotus team after finishing second in the race. He said:
“That was a really tough race. I had to have probably one of my best ever drives to keep Mark [Webber] behind and it’s a great feeling to have tamed at least one of the Bulls in Texas as they clearly had the fastest package today. We knew a good start would be the key, so making up one place in the first corner was really important and the car was just fantastic from there onwards.
"The whole team here and back at Enstone are doing an amazing job. Every day I see them working hard together to keep us at the front and when you look at the gap to the next nearest challenger, it’s clear that we’re the second best team after Red Bull right now.
"I think this place must bring me luck; this time last year I found out my wife was pregnant and now I’ve equalled my best finish in Formula 1, so I can’t wait to come back again and see what happens next year!”
After impressing on Friday and Saturday in his first race weekend for Lotus, Heikki Kovalainen had a difficult race, struggling for pace and requiring an extra pit stop to change the front wing of his Lotus after suffering a loss of front downforce. Although he started eighth on the grid, Kovalainen lost places off the start and struggled to defend during the race. He eventually finished 15th.
Kovalainen explained his Sunday afternoon in Texas:
“My start wasn’t great but then it was going okay until the first pit stop as I was racing with the pack with the car feeling quite good. After the pit stop I started to have a few problems, but it was difficult to know exactly what was going on.
"We had issues with downforce so we changed the front wing and after that it was much better, although still not as good as it’s felt previously this weekend. There was a KERS issue too, though not enough to account for my lack of race pace. We’ll have a good look at the data and hopefully be on top of things far better for the race in Brazil.”
After this strong result for Grosjean, Lotus are just 18 points behind Ferrari in the Constructor's Championship. Considering the relative performance of the Lotus and Ferrari cars, it is possible that Lotus could overhaul Ferrari in the standings at next week's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix. That will, however, require a strong double points finish from the Lotus drivers.