In Davide Valsecchi's latest exclusive column on Crash.net, the Lotus F1 Team third driver and 2012 GP2 Series Champion reflects on Hungary and previews the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps...
We've passed the halfway point in the 2013 F1 World Championship now and the season so far really has been great. We have had lots of overtakes and the passion for the sport has been brilliant everywhere we have been. Let's hope the second half is even better...
The recent Hungarian Grand Prix went well for Lotus F1 Team. It was a great race for us and we had a great Saturday too. Romain [Grosjean] was really quick and in the end he got third position on the grid in qualifying. We were all very pleased with that. Kimi [Raikkonen], in contrast, struggled to find the perfect balance with the car - but he still finished in sixth and was feeling positive going into the race.
Then in the grand prix itself, Kimi had a great afternoon - he did some good overtakes and at the end when he was in second place, he defended the position perfectly against Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel. It was really impressive and he got the job done. Our car showed it was really, really competitive too and we delivered a good result.
It was a bit of a pity for Romain, although sixth wasn't too bad given the two penalties he picked up, one for the run-in with Jenson Button and the other for the pass on Felipe Massa. I thought both those judgements were a bit harsh, especially the move on Felipe. In the corner when he passed him on the outside, it was one of the best overtakes of the season in my view. But he positioned the wheels just a bit out of the white line and the rules say you cannot do this. He got a drive-through as a result. That seemed a bit tough, especially as it wasn't 100 per cent clear what had gone on. The one with Button was a bit more expected, but luckily for us the addition of a 20-second time penalty didn't affect where Romain finished.
Hungary was of course the first race with the new Pirelli tyres and they performed as we anticipated. Nicolas Prost and I ran on them at the Young Driver Test the week before the trip to Budapest and we left knowing they were good for us. We did a lot of race simulations at Silverstone and I felt we had great pace and our balance was very competitive. Then in Hungary our car adapted really well to them. They performed in line with our predictions and the balance in the race was pretty much spot on.
Lotus F1 Team now lies fourth in the Constructors' Championship going into the summer shutdown, but with just 25 points covering us, Ferrari and Mercedes, it clears there's a long way still to go.
Mercedes look incredibly fast at the moment, however. Lewis Hamilton scored pole position in Hungary and got the victory. They really are at the top level. They've always been on the front row in the last eight events. It will not be so easy for us to catch them. But we can definitely fight with Ferrari.
It seems that our car is now better than the Ferrari. It looks like we are faster and it should be a good battle for third place in the championship.