5 November 2013
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Boullier: We have some work to do
Lotus still aims to finish at least third in the 2013 F1 constructors' championship, but team boss Eric Boullier admits that it needs to score better than in Abu Dhabi.
Lotus team boss Eric Boullier admits that his squad has its work cut out if it is to achieve its aim on overcoming one of its rivals to finish third in the 2013 constructors' table.
Speaking after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where Lotus' points haul was compromised despite Romain Grosjean finishing fourth on the road, Boullier admitted that Kimi Raikkonen's qualifying penalty and subsequent first lap retirement had been a heavy blow, but insisted that the Enstone team would not stop fighting until the chequered flag at Interlagos.
Raikkonen's weekend – one which he had initially threatened to boycott over the ongoing non-payment of wages – came to a premature halt when, after just a few hundred metres, a clash of wheels with Caterham's Giedo van der Garde resulted in a broken track rod. The Finn had already been put to the back of the grid after the 'tea tray' on his E21 was found to contravene the regulations in qualifying, leaving him vulnerable to such an incident at the field filed around turn one.
Grosjean, meanwhile, vaulted into fourth spot at the start and, having emerged behind Esteban Gutierrez after his first pit-stop, found himself being held up by Adrian Sutil until the second phase of stops. Once in clear air, however, the Frenchman pushed hard to build a sufficient gap which would allow him to re-join in front of both Ferraris following his second stop. Despite consistently closing the gap to Nico Rosberg in the closing stages, Grosjean ultimately missed out on a fourth consecutive podium finish by a margin of just a single second.
Raikkonen retains third place in the drivers' championship, 34 points behind second overall Fernando Alonso, while Lotus remains fourth in the teams' championship, 26 points adrift of Ferrari with two races – the US and Brazilian grands prix – remaining in the season.
“It's been a difficult weekend for the team, but we can be pleased with the fact our car has once again shown strong pace at another different circuit,” Boullier noted, looking for positive, “After the misfortune of his qualifying penalty, it was always going to be a tough race for Kimi. Starting at the back with a faster car always puts you in a tricky position and, in the end, it was bad luck once again that saw his race end on the first lap for the first time since 2006 I believe.
“Romain drove a very mature race to narrowly miss out on his fourth consecutive podium which, on another day and without his issues in qualifying, would certainly have been within reach.
“We have some work to do if we are to achieve our target of third place in the constructors' championship, so our focus must now be on returning to the podium in Austin.”
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