Date: 26th June 2012 at 10:40am
Written by:

With poor results for Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg, Kimi Raikkonen was able to close the gap on the top five of the World Championship with a second place finish in Valencia.

The Lotus of both Raikkonen and team-mate Romain Grosjean looked strong throughout the Saturday and Sunday, just highlighting the different the track temperature makes to the performance of the Lotuses.

During the Friday practice sessions Kimi couldn’t get close to the fastest times of the day. In FP1 he was 0.730s behind Maldonado placing him tenth fastest, in FP2 he was 0.611s behind Vettel, which closed the gap by a tenth of a second, but everyone else also got quicker which left him eleventh fastest.

Despite appearing to struggle during the practice sessions on Friday, Saturday’s warming temperatures had seen an improvement in Free Practice 3 and he was just 0.197s behind Button [third fastest] and that carried on throughout qualifying.

The Lotus driver managed to get through to Q3 following a very intense and competitive Q2 session and his fastest time of 1m38.513s was good enough for fifth on the grid.

?It was very close in qualifying, especially in Q2, so it?s good to be fifth on the grid. The car felt good. If we could have improved just a little bit on my last lap then we could have gained a couple of places, but it is an improvement on last time out so I?m very happy with that. We found a few good things with the setup this morning to make the car easier to drive. I?m looking forward to tomorrow. The car usually goes well in the race when it?s hot, so let?s see what we can do.? the 2007 Formula One World Champion told formula1.com after the qualifying session had ended.

His prediction that the car would run well in the heat of Valencia came true and it was clear that the Lotuses would be contenders for the victory.

At the start of the race Kimi almost made up a couple of positions, but he simply ran out of track to make the pass and was forced to slow down which cost him valuable track position.

The race ebbed and flowed throughout the different stints of the tyres until the point where he was able to take advantage of the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton not being able to manage its tyres as well as the Lotus.

In the closing stages of the race Hamilton had lost all the grip from the rear of his tyres presenting Kimi with an opportunity to take second place.

Whilst Hamilton defended his position strongly, the experience of Raikkonen shone through as he waited for his opportunity to pounce, which he eventually took and cruised to second place. Although it would seem he only had eyes on the race win.

‘Second place is okay but the win is what I really wanted. We didn?t quite have the pace for it today. I got a good start but I was blocked by Pastor (Maldonado) at the first right-hander and lost quite a few places which put me a bit behind. We made a good recovery from that position and had quite a hard fight with a few people – overtaking and being overtaken. I couldn?t get the tyres up to temperature quickly enough after the safety car, and I made a small mistake on the re-start lap too. I was able to fight back as we had good race pace again. Today was close but the race win was just out of reach.?

This was Kimi’s third podium position since returning to Formula One after taking two years out to drive in the WRC.

 

Your Comment