• Italian Grand Prix

Raikkonen had pace to challenge Vettel

ESPN Staff
September 8, 2013 « Hamilton does about-turn on title chances | Massa takes one for the team »
Kimi Raikkonen had to pit at the end of the opening lap, resulting in him dropping to last place © Sutton Images
Related Links

Lotus insists Kimi Raikkonen had the pace to challenge for victory in the Italian Grand Prix after he failed to score for the second consecutive race.

Raikkonen ran in to the back of Sergio Perez at the start of the race and had to replace his front wing at the end of the first lap. However, from that point on he climbed back through the field to finish in 11th place and trackside operations director Alan Permane said the pace from lap two onwards would have seen Raikkonen fighting for the win.

"Our damage was done yesterday by our poor qualifying positions," Permane said. "We actually had good race pace today and if you compare Kimi and Sebastian Vettel's races, after Kimi's first stop we only lost a second to Seb and we gained four seconds on Fernando [Alonso]. Seb won the race and Fernando finished second, so that gives an illustration of what could have been.

"We obviously will be dissecting where we lost the pace on Saturday and have some solace that we don't visit another circuit of this level of downforce for the rest of the season as it certainly wasn't beneficial for us in terms of qualifying. Starting where we did put us in the middle of the pack where incidents happen on the first lap and that was the case for both our drivers, but both made great recoveries."

Raikkonen himself said he was happy with the improvement shown by his car since qualifying but that ultimately he wasn't able to exploit it.

"When I lost the front wing I had to come in and change to a new one meaning an extra pit stop which we hadn't planned," Raikkonen said. "It's not just the time in the pits, but you have to work your way through the field afterwards. We did a pretty good job of that and the car felt good, surprisingly good given where we were on Saturday. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do after the start to the race we had."