Romain Grosjean drove a perfect race from seventeenth on the Indian Grand Prix grid to third at the chequered flag - despite enduring problems with his engine's pneumatic system - whilst Kimi Raikkonen found the limits of his tyre's performance as the team attempted a one-stop strategy.
Romain managed his car well to take the final podium slot while the team and engine partners Renault devised a strategy to limit the air consumption of his engine's pneumatic system. Kimi ran out of tyre performance near the end of his race, resulting in a late pit stop and the consolation of the race's fastest lap.
Kimi retains third place in the Drivers' Championship on 183 points; 14 points ahead of Lewis Hamilton and with a reduced gab to Fernando Alonso on 207 ahead. Romain rises to seventh position on an equal points tally - 102 - to Felipe Massa in eighth. The team remains fourth in the Constructors' Championship on 285 points from Ferrari's 309.
Over the previous four races - Singapore, Korea, Japan and India - Lotus F1 Team has scored the second highest points tally of any outfit on the grid with a haul of 94, behind only Red Bull Racing on 118. In that same period, only Sebastian Vettel has outscored Kimi and Romain; 100 points for the German compared to the Finn's 49 and Frenchman's 45.
Kimi started from P6 with a scrubbed set of soft tyres, changing to new mediums on lap 7 and making a late stop for a further set of mediums on lap 58. Romain started from P17 on a new set soft tyres, changing to a new set of mediums on lap 13.
Kimi Raikkonen: "We ran maybe the first twenty laps with no brakes as they had overheated massively, so every time I got close to somebody I lost braking. At the end of the race I ran out of tyre performance too so it's been a pretty disappointing day. I knew the tyres would drop off quite quickly, but there wasn't much to lose between trying to get to the end and making an extra pit stop in terms of time lost. In the end it didn't work."
Romain Grosjean: "If you had told me yesterday that I'd be on the podium here I would have said you were crazy! Straight from the beginning of the race I felt very comfortable on the option tyres and we looked in pretty good shape, then we fitted the mediums and the car was really quick. I lost quite a lot of time behind [Esteban] Gutierrez which maybe cost us the fight for second, but we managed to come back from that well. When I saw that I was fourth in front of [Felipe] Massa with 27 laps to go I knew it was going to be close with him as we had to take care of the tyres, plus we had an engine issue at the end of the race which made things quite tricky. In the final laps Kimi was really struggling with his tyres so I managed to pass him and luckily had enough pace to keep Felipe behind. Before the race our best prediction was fourth if we had a strong start and a perfect race, so it was an amazing result and a great performance from the team."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "It's been an eventful weekend. In the end it was a brilliant job from the team and a great performance from Romain, who had a very strong drive and managed to conserve his tyre performance right to the end. He was fast today despite having to nurse his engine, and being on the podium is a good reward for the whole team. Obviously it's disappointing that the tyres couldn't last long enough for Kimi as being third and fourth would have been an amazing result for the team and very useful in the Constructors' Championship, but we'll keep fighting hard until the end of the season and we'll give some headaches to the other teams. We give our congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull for their Championship victory today, and also our promise that we're working hard to give them a tougher battle in 2014."
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: "It was a fantastic race from both drivers, even though the strategy didn't quite work out for Kimi. We started with a plan of two stops for him but made the call to go for one after losing time stuck behind Nico [Hulkenberg]. Unfortunately the tyres didn't quite last as long as he needed and he was forced into making a late stop for fresh rubber. It was a fantastic drive from Romain again and a great call from our strategy team to move him from seventeenth to third; that was just brilliant. Romain's engine pneumatic system's air consumption was a big worry and we had to use every trick in the book to avoid him retiring as per Singapore. Overall, a great team performance today."
Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader: "A hard race today right until the end, and a relief to get the eventual result! Romain did a fantastic job to finish on the podium; especially with having to manage a problem with the pneumatic system. Unfortunately we had an occurrence similar to the issue from Singapore - despite having put a solution in place - so we'll look at this before Abu Dhabi. Also a big congratulations to all at Red Bull; it's great to see another Renault powered title!"
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