Lotus bemoan 'first place lost' despite podium double in the German GP
Enstone outfit frustrated after missing out on victory behind Vettel
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: 07/07/13 6:05pm
Eric Boullier believes that Kimi Raikkonen would have won the German GP had he not been held up by Lewis Hamilton on a frustrating day of 'first place lost' for Lotus.
Raikkonen, released from behind team-mate Romain Grosjean with five laps remaining, hounded race victor Sebastian Vettel to the line at the Nurburgring but had to settle for second place on a bittersweet day for Lotus as they celebrated a double-podium finish but narrowly missed out on victory.
According to team boss Boullier, the Finn's ultimate undoing was the laps spent behind the two Mercedes W04s of Hamilton and Nico Rosberg after the first round of pit-stops for those cars which started out on the soft compounds.
"We got held behind the Mercedes after the first pit-stop and that has cost three or four seconds and this is where we lost the race," Boullier told Sky Sports F1. "It was first place lost."
Asked point-blank if he believed his team had the fastest race car on Sunday, Boullier's reply was emphatic: "Definitely."
Boullier also defended the decision to instruct Grosjean not to hold up Raikkonen as both Lotuses strived to close down Vettel during their final stints with the Finn running on the faster soft compound.
"They are racing each other to the point where they are not holding up the other one and we knew that Kimi could close up to Vettel and not Romain so this is why we made the decision we took," he explained. "He was faster because their tyres were different and we had to switch them to make sure we could catch Sebastian."
Raikkonen himself was rather more circumspect on whether he could have won the race if only he had a few more laps in which to chase down Vettel.
"We had a pretty good last part of the race but the cars are very close on speed so it would have been difficult to overtake," the Finn reflected. "Maybe some more laps would have helped, but the race is only 60 laps and you have to do it during that time."
Asked how it was that the Lotus was so very fast on Sunday at the Nurburgring just a week after struggling at Silverstone, Raikkonen replied: "The heat definitely helped because the car is no different than it was a week ago and the high downforce circuits are much better suited to us than Silverstone and places like that."