Idyllic weather to start the afternoon in Silverstone after the distinctly damp conditions of the weekend previously came as a pleasant surprise as the cars lined up on the grid; both E20s sporting matching sets of yellow marked soft compound Pirelli tyres.
A relatively slow start for the pair; each defending into the first sequence of corners but maintaining position before frantic activity ensued shortly afterwards. Battling with Sebastian Vettel in front, Kimi mounted the kerbs and subsequently lost a position to Pastor Maldonado, while Romain brushed up against Paul Di Resta at the same corner, damaging his front wing in the process.
The following lap the Frenchman was forced to dive into the pits for a new front wing; switching to the silver marked hard compound Pirelli tyres at the same time before emerging to set the fastest lap of the race a few laps later on the fresh rubber. Kimi meanwhile had passed Pastor Maldonado, moving up to sixth.
Lap twelve saw a collision between Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado; the former retiring and the latter limping to the pits, thus promoting Romain a further two positions. Two laps later, Kimi pulled in for his first tyre change, following his team-mate in changing to the faster hard compound rubber.
By the time the order had shaken out after the first round of stops, Kimi found himself back up to his starting position – sixth – while Romain’s early change to the prime tyres combined with some nifty overtaking saw the Frenchman move from the back of the field to eighth.
Just two tours later – lap twenty four – and Kimi had gained another place courtesy of a smart pass on Michael Schumacher. Finally released from behind the German, the Finn consistently set blistering times through the mid-point of the race, claiming the fastest lap in the process.
Having pitted for fresh hard tyres on lap twenty seven, Romain then pipped his team-mate once again to claim the fastest lap; the Frenchman flying at this stage of the race, closing on Lewis Hamilton and pulling off spectacular moves on Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button into the complex on consecutive laps while remaining embroiled in an intense battle with the McLaren.
Just five laps later, Romain pulled off a smooth move on the Brit; using DRS to move up another place and back behind his team-mate, who meanwhile had reclaimed the fastest time of the race having pitted for fresh hard rubber on the same lap.
Not to be outdone, the reigning GP2 Series Champion swung the pendulum back in his favour; setting quickest times on three out the next four laps and closing rapidly on the sister E20 ahead.
As the race drew to its conclusion, the gap between the pair see-sawed as each traded fastest laps with the other. It was the 2007 World Champion who eventually came out on top, posting two scorching times in the final few laps to claim a strong fifth place and the fastest lap of the race – almost catching Felipe Massa for fourth in the dying moments – while his team-mate clinched an impressive sixth and the second fastest time having dropped to the back of the field at the start.
Source: Lotus F1Team