Date:Monday May 14 2012
It's a sign of how far Lotus have come this season that a third place finish for Kimi Raikkonen is almost now seen as a disappointment.
The weekend almost went so well for them, they might not have been taking the headlines during the practice sessions, but the talk amongst the paddock was that Lotus would be heading into the Spanish Grand Prix looking very strong.
In FP1 Kimi was ninth quickest, 0.855 seconds off the pace, in FP2 he closed the gap to 0.519 seconds, finishing in fifth.
On the day of qualifying in FP3 he was back down to ninth 0.768 seconds off the pace, but it was the longer runs on the harder compound tyre that was impressing everyone up and down the pit-lane.
With Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher and Kamui Kobayashi not running in Q3, the pole position shoot-out was between seven and Kimi was to finish qualifying in fifth place, although he was later to be promoted to fourth following Lewis Hamilton's exclusion.
After qualifying, the 2007 Formula One World Champion was pretty content with his afternoon's work: “I think we had a chance to be in the top three but we’ve been fighting with the set-up quite a bit today. We changed the car for qualifying and actually it was the correct call in the end; it was just a few small mistakes which cost me some time on my Q3 lap. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow in the race; the car has usually been better on Sunday than it has been on Saturday, so if that’s the case tomorrow we’ll be pretty happy. he told formula1.com.
And of course Kimi would be proved right, although his Lotus didn't quite live up to the high expectations many had.
They might not have had the one-lap pace to battle for pole position, but come Sunday, it was looking like they would be strong contenders for the race win.
Many thought that Raikkonen could challenge the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso and the Williams of Maldonado with much better pace on the harder tyre.
Quite a few in the media even had Raikkonen as the favourite for the race, as their cars because they had previously shown such good pace on the Pirelli tyres during previous race afternoons.
But for some reason the Finn was unable to keep pace with Alonso and Maldonado during the first stint of the race after taking third place into the first corner.
'I had a very good start and had a chance to overtake on the outside, but we did not have enough speed and I hit the limiter in fifth gear. I am a bit disappointed because if everything had gone right in the first part of the race, we could have won. There was no issue with the speed of the car, but it is so close between all the teams that if you have a small problem or a small issue it can cost so much.'
Towards the end of the race rather than Alonso hunting down Maldonado on fresher tyres, the double world champion was actually having to keep a close eye on his mirrors with Kimi closing the gap by a second a lap.
But in the end Alonso held on to second place with the Lotus driver settling for third, but in the knowledge that his car does have the ability of taking victory this season.
Kimi continued: 'Our car can do it, but everything has to fall into the right place to be able to get on to the top step. My first stint was okay, but I didn't have the speed to stay with the cars in front. We changed the tyres and it seemed to be pretty good, but we were too far away. At the end we needed a few more laps and we could have fought for the win. We're not far away from it and so far we've made good steps forwards; the car feels strong everywhere.'
Another good points day for Kimi Raikkonen, places him in fourth place in the drivers world championship and still within touching distance of Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton ahead of him.
Date:Monday May 14 2012
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F1 Prediction Competition - Round One (Saturday March 8 2014)
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Pirelli announce tyre compounds for opening races (Friday March 7 2014)
Vettel concerned with lack of pace (Thursday March 6 2014)
More to come for Mercedes (Wednesday March 5 2014)
Where do McLaren stand? (Tuesday March 4 2014)
Red Bull will overcome problems, but when? (Monday March 3 2014)
FOTA folds with a whimper (Saturday March 1 2014)
Williams looking solid (Friday February 28 2014)
London Grand Prix takes step closer to reality? (Thursday February 27 2014)
2014 Formula One Prediction Competition (Thursday February 27 2014)
Smedley's Williams move confirmed (Wednesday February 26 2014)
New Pirelli tyres more consistent & durable (Tuesday February 25 2014)
Wolff to drive two practice sessions (Tuesday February 25 2014)
Mercedes dominate in Bahrain testing (Monday February 24 2014)
Double points cheapens F1 says Newey (Saturday February 22 2014)
Lotus sign Pic (Friday February 21 2014)
Red Bull get their wings (Friday February 21 2014)
Lotus commit to long-term engine deal with Renault (Thursday February 20 2014)
Ecclestone wins court battle (Thursday February 20 2014)
Mercedes happy with mileage gained (Thursday February 20 2014)
No panic for Red Bull (Thursday February 20 2014)
Important test for Pirelli (Wednesday February 19 2014)
Challenging time for Red Bull (Tuesday February 18 2014)
Video: Sochi is ready (Tuesday February 18 2014)
Renault admit to playing catch-up (Monday February 17 2014)
Video: Mercedes mock new F1 rules (Monday February 17 2014)
Schumacher's healing process progresses (Friday February 14 2014)
Kimi & Fernando the right choice for Ferrari (Thursday February 13 2014)
Hill backing for double points (Wednesday February 12 2014)
Renault make breakthrough with Lotus (Tuesday February 11 2014)
Mercedes play down early advantage (Monday February 10 2014)
F1 wants qualifying changes (Friday February 7 2014)
F1 Points in discussion (Friday February 7 2014)
Will Formula One be too slow in 2014? (Thursday February 6 2014)
GP2's Russian Time team principal dies (Thursday February 6 2014)
Ferrari announce testing trio (Wednesday February 5 2014)
F1 team principals are a thing of the past (Tuesday February 4 2014)
2014 Formula One Drivers (Tuesday February 4 2014)
2013 F1 Driver Standings (Tuesday February 4 2014)
2013 F1 Constructor Standings (Tuesday February 4 2014)
Brawn retires from Formula One (Monday February 3 2014)
Schumacher 'in the process' of coming out of coma (Friday January 31 2014)
Boullier named McLaren Racing Director (Thursday January 30 2014)
McLaren duo killed (Thursday January 30 2014)
Video: Red Bull stutter in Jerez (Wednesday January 29 2014)
Video: F1 teams reveal 2014 challengers (Tuesday January 28 2014)
Video: 'Year of change' for Mclaren (Tuesday January 28 2014)
Alonso and Kimi target the title (Monday January 27 2014)
Final chance for Caterham (Saturday January 25 2014)
Boullier to leave Lotus for McLaren? (Friday January 24 2014)
Paul Di Resta makes Mercedes switch (Friday January 24 2014)
Pic & van der Garde in the cold (Thursday January 23 2014)
Caterham announce Kobayashi & Ericsson (Wednesday January 22 2014)
NASCAR boss makes F1 move (Tuesday January 21 2014)
Schumacher remains in coma (Monday January 20 2014)
Ron Dennis back in control at McLaren (Friday January 17 2014)
Pirelli confirmed until 2016 (Friday January 17 2014)
Ecclestone steps down (Thursday January 16 2014)
Lotus deal with Quantum dead (Thursday January 16 2014)
Ecclestone in the news in Germany (Thursday January 16 2014)
A unique situation for Formula One (Wednesday January 15 2014)
Changes afoot at Williams (Tuesday January 14 2014)
John Button dies (Monday January 13 2014)
Video: Tribute to Ayrton Senna (Monday January 13 2014)
Chilton holds on to Marussia seat (Monday January 13 2014)
The numbers game (Monday January 13 2014)
Kobayashi to return to F1? (Friday January 10 2014)
Schumacher travelling speed of 'good skier' (Thursday January 9 2014)
Sutil looking forward to Sauber challenge (Wednesday January 8 2014)
Lotus to miss first F1 test (Tuesday January 7 2014)
Fans hold vigil for Schumacher (Monday January 6 2014)
Schumacher remains critical but stable (Thursday January 2 2014)
Schumacher's condition shows 'slight improvement' (Tuesday December 31 2013)
Schumacher remains in coma overnight (Monday December 30 2013)
Schumacher in critical condition (Sunday December 29 2013)
Ferrari calls for F1 team summit (Friday December 27 2013)
Alonso makes his number selection (Thursday December 26 2013)
2014 Formula One Calendar (Wednesday December 25 2013)
Merry Christmas from Vital F1 (Wednesday December 25 2013)
Video: An F1 steering wheel - the driver's view (Tuesday December 24 2013)
Sauber confirm Gutierrez for 2014 (Tuesday December 24 2013)
Double points for three races (Monday December 23 2013)
Video: Ricciardo wows 100 thousand in Sri Lanka (Sunday December 22 2013)
Video: Teenager Kvyat looking for easy adjustment (Saturday December 21 2013)
BBC & Sky carve up 2014 season (Friday December 20 2013)
Rosberg suffers 320km/h tyre blow out (Friday December 20 2013)
Hulkenberg was offered Force India return in March (Thursday December 19 2013)
Red Bull hit by two key departures (Thursday December 19 2013)
Massa bids final farewell to Ferrari (Wednesday December 18 2013)
F1 Video: Caterham passes 2014 crash test (Tuesday December 17 2013)
Button looking forward to hilarious test (Tuesday December 17 2013)
Sauber switch for Sutil (Monday December 16 2013)
Perez backing for double points plan (Saturday December 14 2013)
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