• German Grand Prix

Qualifying still hurts Lotus - Raikkonen

ESPN Staff
July 22, 2012 « Mercedes drivers disappointed with pace | Webber mystified by lack of pace »
Kimi Raikkonen moved up to fourth in the championship; just two points behind Sebastian Vettel in third © Sutton Images
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Kimi Raikkonen believes Lotus can push Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren for victories but said it still needs to qualify higher to do so.

Sebastian Vettel's post-race 20 second penalty relegated him from second place to fifth and in turn promoted Raikkonen to third. On track, however, Raikkonen had finished the race 9.4 seconds behind provisionally third-placed Jenson Button, and having started tenth he admitted that Lotus was unable to challenge for the top three from such a lowly position.

"We did the best we could today from the position we started," Raikkonen said. "My start was okay, but then I think Lewis [Hamilton] had a problem in front of me and I had to slow down to avoid hitting the back of his car. This let Paul [Di Resta] through in the DRS zone and from there we had a big hill to climb as it was tricky to get back past.

"Maybe if we had found a bit more pace in the wet yesterday we could have started higher and pushed the leaders, but it is what it is. For sure we were hoping for a bit better here, but the car worked well all through the race and we still brought home some good points for the team so there are some positives to take to the next race."

Speaking before Raikkonen was promoted, director of trackside operations Alan Permane said that the pace was good enough to race the top three.

"Romain [Grosjean] was compromised by his first lap incident which severely damaged his floor, losing him a lot of downforce," Permane said. "With Kimi moving tenth to fourth (before Vettel's penalty) we saw the strategy work as we wanted it to. We were hoping to be able to get on the podium but the first few laps cost a bit too much time. Ultimately we could run at the pace of the leaders, but we were just too far back to make the top three today. It's a familiar story we know all too well ; we have to qualify better to get stronger results. The wet weather of Saturday really hurt us in qualifying here, so hopefully we can bounce back in Budapest and do a good job."