8 November 2013
Lotus F1 Team third driver Davide Valsecchi reviews the F1 2013 Indian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix in his latest column for Crash.net...
In Davide Valsecchi's latest exclusive column on Crash.net, the Lotus F1 Team third driver and 2012 GP2 Series Champion reflects on the races in India and Abu Dhabi as the Enstone-based team continues its fight to secure a top three championship finish...
The last time I wrote to you was before we headed to India and a race that I felt could be a good one for the Lotus F1 Team.
That turned out to be correct with Romain and Kimi both scoring points, with Romain in particular producing a really good drive to finish on the podium despite his problems in qualifying.
For sure, Romain is a lot more confident now than he has been in the past and I think his results have almost given him an extra charge. In Singapore, he was heading for the podium but was unlucky with his retirement. However, in the two races that followed he was on the rostrum both times and was getting more confident.
In India, he did well and I think we are now starting to see the real Romain Grosjean. Before, he could produce good results in qualifying but couldn't always repeat it in the races. Saying that, this season he hadn't always shown his true speed in qualifying, especially in the early part of the year, but since the summer break, he has shown he is a driver capable of fighting for the championship. He is comparing well alongside a great champion in Kimi Raikkonen, and Kimi is now struggling a bit in comparison to Romain. He really is in top gear at the moment.
During the Indian race, there was the 'incident' between Romain and Kimi when they went side-by-side for position.
A lot was said by people about it, but you have to remember that Romain was recovering positions on really good tyres and in the last few laps, Kimi was on tyres that were really old and his pace was lower – so the team was thinking that he was going to lose positions.
Romain had Felipe Massa right behind him so in order to deliver a podium position, we needed Kimi to let Romain through without a fight. The team asked three times for Kimi to move away on the main straight to let Romain through, but Kimi fought a bit too much and the team had to make the order in a hard way. He eventually let Romain pass, so it was the end of the story.
However, it was turned into a big story because of the way the team asked Kimi to move over but when there is tension in the race and in the heat of the moment, it can be difficult for the team. They didn't want to lose time and they shouted at Kimi, but they apologised afterwards and there was no problem.
There were a lot of reports about Kimi in Abu Dhabi, and it is a bit of a strange situation at the moment as we have him challenging for third place in the championship but having already signed for one of our competitors in Ferrari. That doesn't make it easy for him either, as he has to try and beat his new team.
Kimi was very unlucky in Abu Dhabi as he had done a great job in qualifying to be fifth on the grid, but then had to take a penalty that meant he started last. It was unfortunate that he was involved in a crash at the first corner and when you consider that the driver who finished in tenth place was more than 70 seconds behind the leader, I'm sure that there was a chance for Kimi to finish the race seventh or eighth.
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