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GP Week : Issue 155
Arriving in Monaco, Lotus were tipped by many to be the team to beat this weekend. With podiums in Barcelona and Bahrain, and strong performances from both Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, the Enstone racers were seen as definite contenders. When Romain Grosjean ended both FP1 and FP2 second on the timesheets, the Frenchman looked to be in a strong position to challenge for pole on Saturday’s qualifying session. Hopes of a good result for Kimi Raikkonen were dashed when the Finnish driver spent the weekend struggling to get his steering to his liking. While Saturday’s qualifying session saw a good – not great – result for the team, with Grosjean in a promoted P4 and Raikkonen in P8, Sunday’s race left a lot to be desired. A bad start off the line saw Grosjean squeezed in between the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher and the advancing Ferrari of Fernando Alonso, and the Frenchman had nowhere to go. Grosjean clipped the Mercedes, spun, and found himself out of the race on the first lap, making it the third time in six races that the Frenchman’s strong qualifying result was marred by a retirement in the first few laps. “We struggled to get off the line and it looked like Lewis in front didn’t have the best start either,” Grosjean said after the race. “Fernando pulled alongside him so I was then on the outside of both cars, and unfortunately Michael was on the outside of me as well. There just wasn’t enough room and next thing I’m facing all the traffic after just one hundred metres which wasn’t a nice feeling.” It was an equally difficult race for Raikkonen, who finished the race in P9 after narrowly avoiding being taken out by Sergio Perez on lap 36, when the Sauber driver made a late dive for the pits. The usually taciturn Finn was pragmatic about the outcome of the race. “Ninth was the best we could do today,” he said. “I didn’t start in a great position and I had some difficulties during the race so it’s not been the easiest weekend, but at least we got a couple of points. It’s better than nothing but not exactly what we wanted. “One race doesn’t change the fact that we have been pretty strong everywhere – even here at the beginning of the weekend. This circuit is completely different from any other and I don’t think we should worry too much about the fact that it wasn’t our best weekend. It is what it is – sometimes it doesn’t go the way you expected and now we should look to Canada for a better result.” LOTUS SEE BLACK, NOT EXPECTED GOLD 24 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> MONACO