2 APRIL 25 2012 motorsport-news.co.uk
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“Bahrain was a positive message”
P8 FIA chief Jean Todt defend F1’s controversial race
HONDA HIT HARD BY NEW BOOST RESTRICTION
Honda star Shedden upset by new equalisation rules
SORDO CAN HELP
FORD STAY IN WRC MAKES’
Spaniard set to shine as he replaces Latvala in Fiesta
HUNTER ENJOYS A STROLL BY THE BEACH TO SOMERSET GLORY
BTRDA title fight hots up in front of the Redcoats
Bahrain Grand Prix report
Historic race and rally news
Insight:Finns in the BRC
Interview:Rob Austin,movie star 24 SUBSCRIBETOMOTORSPORTNEWS 26 Insight:How to Hillclimb 27 Racing reports 28 Report:BTRDA Somerset Stages 30 Rally reports 32 Karting round-up 33 Sporting Scene round-up 34 Letters/Comment/What’s On 36 Wanted:Non-slip wheel guns and cooperative wheel nuts.Apply:L.Hamilton
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Formula One returnee says he’s ready to
ByMatt James Lotus F1 ace Kimi Räikkönen says he will be able to win grands prix this season after securing a battling second place in Bahrain last weekend.
The Finn, who has made his top-flight comeback this year after two campaigns in the World Rally Championship, finished just seconds behind the rejuvenated Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel. Räikkönen had raced wheel-to-wheel with the German andmade a failed attempt to wrest the lead towards the end of his second stint.
The 2007 world champion, whowas followed across the line by his LotusRenault team-mate Romain Grosjean, says the result shows that the Enstone team is ready to win again in F1. ”Hopefully we can put ourselves in this position more often,” said the 32-year-old. “We had the car already in the first three races to be up there, but wemade some small mistakes and that cost us too much. In Bahrain, weweren’t far away at all.” Aswell as Räikkönen’s strong performance, Vettel’s first win of the year has shown that Red Bull has made substantial progress with the RB8. The German has scored points in three of the opening four races and now leads the championship standings by four points ahead of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, who could only manage eighth place in Bahrain after two pit stop problems.
Räikk önen star re d w ith second place in the Bahr ain GP
Kimi promises more Räikkönen said the pace that Lotus unlocked at the Sakhir circuit had been in the car throughout the season and that the team had a good base to develop potential grand prix winning chassis.
The car had shown promise in the early races but various operational andmechanical problems had blighted Räikkönen’s charge. He finished seventh in Melbourne from 17th on the grid after a qualifying mix-up and was docked five places on the grid in Malaysia, when he went from tenth to fifth. Hewas outside the top ten in Chinese Grand Prix after a tyre gamble backfired.
“It is a great result for the team and we deserve it because everyone has been working very hard,” said Räikkönen. “I am slightly disappointed that we didn’t take the win because we had the pace. I only had one chance to overtake Vettel and unfortunately I chose the wrong side to try and get ahead.”
Räikkönen said that a poor start from 11th on the grid, when he slipped behind the Ferrari of Felipe Massa, also stymied his early progress in Bahrain. Despite sacrificing qualifying pace, the Finn had saved newer tyres for the race and that tactic allowed him to sear up through the order once he had dealt with the early traffic.
“Maybe it would have been a story if that hadn’t happened, because I spent quite a lot of time fighting with Massa,” he said. “Still, it is good to have two cars on the podium, especially after the last race, and honestly I think we could have taken the victory here.”
Team boss Eric Boullier said there was a sense of optimism as the team, which recently lost backing from Lotus Cars, had finally managed to unlock consistent speed from the Renault-powered E20 chassis.
“The first three races were very frustrating as we knewwewere
Lotus was quick, bu t Red Bull and champ Ve ttel took the honours capable of a result like this,” said the team principal. “Until now, small details have hindered our performance, so it is almost a relief to finally show what we are capable of. We took a bit of a gamble on strategy and it paid off. I am immensely proud of what we achieved today.”
Grosjean’s delight Aswell as Räikkönen’s pace, team-mate Grosjean scored his second successive points finish and banked his first podium in Formula One in Bahrain.
The Frenchman, who has been drafted back into the outfit after two years on the sidelines, said that he had been aiming for a top five finish at the Sakhir circuit and was delighted with the third step of the rostrum. He is also confident that he will be able to push for honours in the Lotus.
The 26-year-old said: “I was saying [to myself] first points, then a top five, then a podium, so I have jumped up a step. The next step will be victory but that will take time. Now I think we can be happy and nowwe can have aweek off to enjoy the time and to work a little bit at the factory