• Malaysian Grand Prix

Lotus perplexed by lost pace

ESPN Staff
March 24, 2013 « Wheel nut issue frustrates Force India | Button was on for podium finish »
Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen finished over half a minute behind the race winner © Sutton Images

Kimi Raikkonen admitted Lotus doesn't know where its pace went after Friday practice as he finished seventh in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Romain Grosjean fared little better as he finished sixth as Lotus failed to display the sort of impressive pace which saw Raikkonen win the season-opening race in Melbourne. Raikkonen said the car had looked strong on Friday but that overnight the team lost pace and is unsure what the reasons were.

"Although the car felt very good on Friday, yesterday and today have been pretty difficult," Raikkonen said. "Since Saturday morning it has not been behaving as we expected for some reason, especially in the wet where we really struggled for grip. It was a tough race and I lost part of my front wing at the start which didn't help, but at least we scored a few points which is better than coming away with nothing. If we can get the car back to how it was in Australia then I'm sure we'll be at the front again."

Grosjean was more upbeat after getting the better of his team-mate, but admitted the result wasn't what Lotus was expecting on Friday.

"I think we can be quite happy with the result today," Grosjean said. "It was a tough race, starting wet and finishing dry, but that's what you expect in Malaysia. I spent a lot of time stuck behind Felipe [Massa] in the middle phase of the race and I'm sure if I could have passed him earlier then I would have stayed ahead, but by the end my tyres were finished so it was best just to let him through. It's not the result we would have wanted at the beginning of the weekend, but at the end of the day it's more points for the team and we'll try to come back stronger in Shanghai."