A terminal brakes issue for Kimi Raikkonen ended any chance of a double points finish for Lotus at Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.
The Lotus duo of Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean lined-up alongside each other in 7th and 8th on the grid, on row 4, but the pair slipped out of the top 10 in the early stages of the race after they both suffered poor starts.
Raikkonen’s race ultimately ended on lap 26, having struggled with smoking brakes all race long, the Finn pulled into the pits to retire, having been unable to slow his E21 in an attempted pass on Felipe Massa’s Ferrari into the final chicane.
“I had a brake failure so there was really no point in trying to continue”, said the 2007 world champion. “We both got good starts off the line but there wasn’t enough space into the first corner where I went over the kerb and lost some time, but after that I was pushing as hard as I could. There were some brake issues at the beginning of the race but we were managing them and it was going okay until we had to retire.”
This retirement ends the 33-year-olds record of 27 consecutive points finishes, which stretched back to the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix and was also his first retirement since the 2009 German Grand Prix.
The Finn, who has won four times around Spa in past years, was philosophical about the retirement, stating that it was just one of those things that can happen in Formula One and was certainly not something to worry about.
“We’ve finished a lot of races and had some good reliability; one day your luck has to run out and today was that day.”
Romain Grosjean, who was involved in an incident with Sergio Perez, which saw the Mexican punished for forcing the Frenchman off the track at Les Combes, had a better time of it than his Lotus team-mate, finishing exactly where he had started in 8th.
However, the 27-year-old, who recently became a father, was left rueing his teams decision to one-stop him, claiming that even on fresh rubber, it was impossible to make up for the time he lost in his first stint, but he did admit that if it had rained then they would have been perfectly placed to have profited.
“We had a difficult first lap where we lost a few positions and then dropped back a couple more places in the incident with Sergio [Perez].
“We decided on a one stop strategy today and with the new tyres I felt that the grip was much higher than before but I knew that it would be difficult to get the time back. We tried something different and you never know; had it rained in the middle of the race we could have been well-placed to take advantage.
“It is good to finish the race without any mistakes, even if eighth place isn’t what we were hoping for this weekend; it’s also a shame that Kimi didn’t finish the race, but we go to Monza hopeful of better things.”
Lotus Team Principal Eric Boullier, called the weekend “disappointing”, claiming that low temperatures and the nature of the circuit may have been to blame for Lotus’ apparent lack of pace, but he remains hopeful that these issues can be overcome for next season.
Images courtesy of Octane Photographic.