15 September 2012
Boullier: Lotus will push like hell to keep Kimi in title contention
Eric Boullier maintains Kimi Raikonen could spring a surprise and win the F1 drivers' title this year
Lotus will continue to 'push like hell' in a bid to keep Kimi Raikkonen in championship contention, team principal, Eric Boullier has vowed ahead of next weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.
Raikkonen moved up to third in the standings following his gritty drive to fifth last weekend in Italy and he now trails Lewis Hamilton in second by just one point, while championship leader, Fernando Alonso is a further 37 points ahead.
Despite being a bit of a dark horse though for the title, Boullier is adamant the Finn could yet spring a surprise and pull it off, just like he did in 2007, when he pipped Hamilton and Alonso to the post at the season finale in Brazil.
“Of course he [Kimi] can [go for the title]. He's currently third, one point away from Lewis Hamilton. Anything can happen. We're not naive though, and we know that his chances are slim. However, we'll push like hell as long as there is a mathematical chance of winning it,” Boullier confirmed.
As for the constructors', Boullier is keen to see the team continue to strive for third place, even though the Enstone-based operation dropped behind Ferrari after the race at Monza.
“We've always said that fourth was our goal this year but looking at our pace, it would be legitimate to try and have a go at third if we can,” he continued. “The pack is so tight that anything is possible. We just need to score points - consistently and with both cars - until the end of the season.”
So what can the team do in Singapore after struggling in Italy?
“It [Monza] was the toughest [race] so far [this season], yes, but we were expecting it. The whole weekend was about damage limitation and Kimi has once again extracted 100 per cent from the car.
“As a result, we were not really disappointed with fifth position, as it was the best result we could hope for. Actually, it felt quite strange not to head to the podium at the end of the race, which says a lot about our mindset at present! Things change so quickly in F1. One year ago, we would have been very happy with fifth. This year, we're talking about the toughest race of the season.
“There's no reason to think though, that a podium will be out of reach in Singapore. We've been quite competitive on twisty circuits this year and Singapore shares a lot of Monaco and Valencia's characteristics.
“Romain [Grosjean] loves that type of circuit, while Kimi has always been quick in Singapore; even if he hasn't had the best of luck during the races themselves. It will be an interesting weekend.
“We have a few upgrades scheduled for Singapore [too] and they should bring some extra performance.”
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