Kimi Räikkönen took a strong third position in the Belgian Grand Prix to move him back into fourth position in the Drivers' Championship after a warm, dry and action packed race at Spa-Francorchamps. Kimi is now just one point off third-placed Mark Webber, whilst the team remains in third in the Constructors' Championship.
Romain Grosjean had a short race, ending with contact heading into the first corner. He was later penalised by the Stewards and is suspended from the next race in Monza, Italy. The team will not appeal this decision and will communicate the name of Romain's replacement as soon as possible.
Both drivers started on scrubbed medium compound Pirelli tyres. Kimi stopped on laps 11 and 28, both times for new hard compound tyres. Both stops were sub 3 seconds.
Kimi Räikkönen (P3, E20-05): "I made a pretty okay start, similar to Jenson [Button]'s and I overtook the Sauber. I saw a lot of action in the mirrors but luckily it missed me. Unfortunately, we didn't have the pace today. My car wasn't great all weekend and we couldn't find a competitive setup. On new tyres it was okay, but we had to use a lot of downforce to prevent sliding.
That meant we were very slow on the straight. You could see this in my battle with Michael [Schumacher]. Each time I passed him he just went straight back past down the Kemmel straight. My only chance was to go for a gap at Eau Rouge.
Luckily it paid off and I managed to stay ahead of him that time. We didn't have the pace today and it wasn't an easy race, so P3 was not too bad."
Romain Grosjean (DNF, E20-04): "When your life is all about racing, not being allowed to attend an event is probably one of the worst experiences you can go through. That said, I do respect the verdict of the Stewards. I got a good start - despite being disturbed by Pastor's early launch, which I think was the case for everybody at the front - and was heading into the first corner when the rear of my car made contact with the front of Lewis [Hamilton]'s.
I honestly thought I was ahead of him and there was enough room for both cars ; I didn't deliberately try to squeeze him or anything like that. This first corner situation obviously isn't what anyone would want to happen and thankfully no-one was hurt in the incident.
I wish to apologise to the drivers who were involved and to their fans. I can only say that today is part of a process that will make me a better driver."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "It's been a tough day for the team but we fully respect the Stewards' decision. Romain won't be driving at Monza but he still has our full support. We'll announce the name of his replacement a bit later in the week. As far as the race is concerned, unfortunately we didn't have the pace for Kimi to challenge Jenson [Button] or Sebastian [Vettel].
We had to look closely at the strategy during the race to see if we should switch to one stop, but in the end a podium finish still brings us some good points.
Of course, everyone talks about 'the win', and this is something we all want. We were not fast enough for it today, so we all need tokeep working hard for this goal."
James Allison, Technical Director: "Kimi did a really good job to salvage third position today with a car which really wasn't quick enough, contrary to all our expectations coming into the event. In actual fact, this has been one of our tougher weekends and we're thankful that Kimi did his best to limit the damage to our Championship aspirations.
Fortunately, Spa can be viewed as sufficiently distinct in its characteristics to mean that we're not unduly worried about the car's potential performance heading to the next races."
Ricardo Penteado, Renault Sport F1 Team Support Leader: "Getting a podium here is satisfying considering the challenge of the track, with nearly three quarters of the lap spent at full throttle. We introduced new units this weekend to maximise power on the straights and help overtaking.
Wwe needed it today when Kimi made an awesome move to overtake Michal [Schumacher]. It bodes well for Monza though where a similar emphasis is placed on outright top speed."
Lotus F1 Team