In Davide Valsecchi's latest exclusive column on Crash.net, the Lotus F1 Team third driver and 2012 GP2 Series Champion reflects on the final two European grands prix of the season, talks about Kimi Raikkonen's departure and looks ahead to Singapore, F1's only night race...
So it is official - Kimi [Raikkonen] is leaving Lotus F1 Team. I know everyone at the team was working hard to convince him to stay and everyone wanted him to remain simply because he is a brilliant driver and a World Champion. He will be missed. But it was his decision and we have to respect that.
Of course speculation now will focus on who will replace him and of course I hope Lotus will promote me! It is my hope – and dream – to get a race seat in F1. I know it is not going to be easy, but I will continue doing all I can in my current role to impress and then it is up to the team to decide.
We will see...
Back to the racing itself, after Kimi's podium in Hungary and Romain [Grosjean]'s sixth place, Belgium and Italy were both rather disappointing.
At Spa-Francorchamps the team scored only four points after Romain finished eighth. Morale was not so high after that weekend. We were all a bit disappointed. Our speed was not strong enough and there were quite a few teams and cars that were faster. It wasn't such a good situation.
Kimi of course failed to finish as he had that brake problem and had to retire while he was going quite well and recovering positions. We were optimistic that he might have finished in fifth or sixth position.
The brake problem was there right from the start – as most people could see from the TV pictures. He was struggling to keep going and finally he had to give up when he was trying to overtake [Felipe] Massa on lap 26. Luckily he could avoid him and he then came back into the 'box to retire.
We were really unlucky because the problem was caused by a visor tear-off. One of these got in the brake duct on Kimi's car – in the cooling system, just in front of the disc and it warmed up the disc too much.
Generally speaking however, we were not incredibly competitive when it was wet at Spa and we were just 'normal' when it was dry. We were hoping for more. But sometimes it goes like that. The track and the conditions – not really hot and a really long straight – didn't suit us so much.