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18 April  2012

Lotus ambassador Jean Alesi reflects on the Chinese Grand PrixÖ

Kimi Raikkonen slid from second to 14th in the closing laps Ė where did it all go wrong?

Well, first of all what a fantastic race. China was really thrilling right to the end, and it was thanks to the different tyre strategies the teams adopted. Kimiís strategy was quite optimistic, staying out on his third set of tyres. I was so shocked when he lost all those positions in just a couple of laps. He did a great job of keeping those cars behind him as long as he did, but suddenly there was a big drop-off of grip and when Sebastian Vettel got past, Kimi was forced to go off line and picked up the discarded rubber marbles. He had no chance to clean his tyres and everyone else passed him. Fernando Alonso suffered more or less the same thing, but there werenít so many cars behind him and he only lost a couple of places.

The two-stop strategy seemed to work better for Romain Grosjean, who rose from tenth to sixthÖ

Yes, he had good race pace. After his accidents in Australia and Malaysia he had to be more careful, he knew he needed to get to the end. I was quite happy with what he did, at a track heís never driven on before.

The car is capable of more though. It must be frustrating for them not to be on the podium yetÖ

Itís really tough when your results donít match your performance. Ferrari has a car that is uncompetitive, but after two rounds Fernando was leading the world championship. At Lotus, things are the other way around. They have a very competitive car but they havenít pulled it all together. In this situation, it is important to stay cool and acknowledge they have the car, they trust the drivers, and the results will come. Unlike last year, when the Red Bull RB7 dominated, this season there isnít a clear frontrunner and that means itís all about detail. Because itís so close out there, the winning team will be the one that makes no mistakes. One little detail missing, and the results wonít come. So Lotus need to stay calm, but keep an eye on every detail.