Date:Tuesday July 31 2012
The Lotus team edged closer to their first win for years on Sunday, but Lewis Hamilton proved to strong for both Lotus drivers.
The Lotus team hasn't won a race since 2008 when the team was Renault, but the Lotus name hasn't triumphed since Ayrton Senna in 1987.
The day appears to be drawing near when the Lotus livery steps on to the top step of the podium, but it wasn't to be this weekend.
Perhaps if the team had put together a stronger practice session, then they could have led from the front in qualifying, but nonetheless it was still a strong performance from the team.
On Friday Raikkonen was a over a second off the pace in FP1, which placed him down in eighth place, FP2 showed a big improvement, closing the gap to just 0.185 on Lewis Hamilton to take second.
But Saturday morning the Lotus pace slipped again with Kimi half a second down in sixth and that speed translated into qualifying with Raikkonen placed fifth 0.777 slower than Hamilton.
ďNot a bad qualifying performance for sure, but itís a bit disappointing I didnít go faster when it mattered. The car feels good, but I didnít get the crucial lap together at the right time. Letís see what happens tomorrow.Ē the Finn told formula1.com on Saturday evening.
But throughout the season the Lotus car has performed much better during the race than in qualifying and despite knowing his Saturday performance could have been better, many in the paddock believed that the 2007 Formula One World Champion could have been on target for his first win since August 2009 in Belgium.
Before the race everyone was so positive, even the weather appeared on their side, the hotter the track, the better the Lotus appears to perform but Kimi struggled at the start losing a place to Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
Back in sixth Raikkonen was no longer in a position to dictate his own pace and at a track where it's difficult to overtake, he had to bide his time.
What made it worse was he was having a technical problem with his KERS, further hampering his bid to get past the cars in front.
A clever tyre strategy though brought them back into contention and despite getting awfully close on the pit exit to his team-mate, he managed to leap-frog his way into second place.
His car clearly had the matching of Lewis Hamilton, but while he was able to close the gap down to less than a second, even in the DRS zones he never looked like troubling the McLaren for the win.
'Itís a shame we couldnít quite get the win but itís a good result for the team and weíll keep pushing to make that final step. My start was not too bad but then we had some issues with the KERS and I lost a place to Fernando Alonso. When we got it working again we were stuck in the pack so it was a bit frustrating, but once we were in clear air we could push and it looked like we could make up a few places in the second stops. The team said it would be very close with Romain, but it was okay in the end. We managed to catch Lewis but it was impossible to pass.Ē
Kimi's fifth podium of the season places him fifth in the drivers world championship, within 8 points of Hamilton, Vettel and Webber in front of him.
While sixth place Nico Rosberg is 39 points behind.
Date:Tuesday July 31 2012
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