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Lotus duo look ahead to Bahrain

NEWS STORY
17/04/2012

Having come agonisingly close to a great result in China, Kimi Raikkonen puts the past behind him and focuses on his next chance for glory in Bahrain.

The Chinese Grand Prix was full of action; how was it from your position?
Kimi Raikkonen: It was good racing but we ran out of tyre performance during the final stint. I felt comfortable in the car and I could push well, but we lost out in the end. I was not able to get past Felipe (Massa) in the middle part of the race, and I wasn't able to keep Sebastian (Vettel) behind me, but there is still good speed in the car.

What happened when Sebastian got past you?
KR: I had been keeping him behind me, but finally my tyres were too far gone for me to keep him there. I went wide and then I was on the marbles. I had very little traction on the loose stuff and because it was so close a lot of cars went past me. It was then too late to make another stop so it was frustrating. It was the strategy we chose, and I wouldn't have been fighting for second if we'd gone for a three stop. Maybe we should have run a longer second stint, as that worked for Romain. We learnt a lot about the tyres.

Are you frustrated the strategy chosen didn't work?
KR: It looked the best one for us and it worked for Romain. If we had the same information again, we'd probably try the same approach.
It didn't work, but you don't know these things unless you try them.
We will now know better for next time. We were pretty close to finishing on the podium. We didn't. That's racing.

You were racing wheel-to-wheel at times during the race. How was that?
KR: It is what I missed when I was rallying, and it's good to be racing against other cars like that. It was very close at times, but it's called racing so that's what you do. I thought it must have looked good on television for anyone watching. I look forward to racing more like that this season.

The team wasn't able to maximise the latest upgrade package at Shanghai - how frustrating was that for you as a driver?
KR: We had a lot of parts but it was wet on Friday morning and very cold in the afternoon. We went back to most of the old spec for Saturday as we knew how it worked. Qualifying was okay, but there was a bigger gap to pole which wasn't what we wanted. We didn't make the car faster which some others did with theirs. The E20 still feels good to drive, but we just need to get a little bit more speed. Hopefully we will find it in Bahrain.

What are your thoughts of the Bahrain International Circuit?
KR: I don't think it will present any particular problems for us. It's likely to be quite hot and our car didn't like the cold so much when we were in China so maybe the heat will suit us better. The track has a mixture of corners and it's quite fun to race on. There are some opportunities to overtake so let's see what happens.

It's another circuit where you have finished on the podium...
KR: I have had a second and three third places in Bahrain which is okay. It is good to race there. We won't know how strong the car will be until we get there. Maybe we will get the upgrades on the car to work properly and we will be able to go faster than in China. Let's see.

How have you enjoyed the first three races?
KR: It's not that different to what it was like before. I don't like the travel so much as the first races are so far away from home, but soon we will be racing in Europe. When you're at the track and in the car you know what you have to do, so it doesn't matter so much about the other stuff. When I'm in the car it feels good, and we're all working to get faster.

Do you think the team is capable of a strong result in Bahrain?
KR: A podium should be possible and I think it has been at all the races we've been at so far. We don't know exactly how good the car will be until we get there, but we don't expect any problems.

Romain Grosjean achieved the best result of his Formula 1 career in China; just the tonic after a difficult start to the season. Now, the Frenchman is looking to carry that momentum to Bahrain.

How did it feel to score your first points in Formula 1 last weekend?
Romain Grosjean: "I'm very pleased for myself, for the team, for all the hard work we've done. We deserved finally a good result. We did an amazing job to recover from our free practice pace, which was not that good, but at the end of the story we got back where we should be.

As Kimi showed, it was a strategy which was very marginal on tyres, how was that from behind the wheel?
RG: I knew it was going to be tight for tyres and did my best to save them. It's always difficult when you are on a risky strategy to the cars coming from behind you. The McLarens and Red Bulls were attacking with new tyres so I wasn't sure what to expect.

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