European GP: Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean's mixed fortunes
There were mixed emotions for the two Lotus drivers following the European Grand Prix, with Kimi Raikkonen driving excellently to finish second after watching team-mate Romain Grosjean drop out of the race because of mechanical problems.
Grosjean was second, and well-placed for an assault on leader Fernando Alonso, when his car ground to a halt on lap 41.
European GP result
1. Fernando Alonso 1:44:16.649
2. Kimi Raikkonen +00:06.421
3. Michael Schumacher +00:12.639
4. Mark Webber +00:13.628
5. Nico Hulkenberg +00:19.993
6. Nico Rosberg +00:21.176
7. Paul Di Resta +00:22.866
8. Jenson Button +00:24.653
9. Sergio Perez +00:27.777
10. Pastor Maldonado +00:34.630
"We were very close to the win, and it was nice to fight with Fernando," said Grosjean, who was clearly disappointed not to register the first grand prix victory of his career.
"We had an almost perfect race until that point. There was an alarm on the steering wheel and the team tried to look at it but there was nothing they could do.
"I knew we were quicker than the Ferrari, tyre degradation is better on our car and I was going to try and catch him when he struggled.
"But there are 12 races to go and there are plenty of positives to take."
Grosjean's misfortune on lap 41 allowed Raikkonen to mount a challenge of his own and, despite picking off Lewis Hamilton late in the race to edge into second, the Finnish former world champion was still not happy with his result.
"I am never happy if I don't win," he said. "I had a good start but I was blocked by Pastor Maldonado and had to back off, meaning I lost a few places.
"There was a lot of fighting in the race. We got second place, which is not too bad, but it would have been nice for the team to get both drivers on the podium."
Force India underlined their growing reputation with two impressive results for Nico Hulkenberg, who finished fifth, and seventh-placed Paul Di Resta.
"P5 is a great achievement," said Hulkenberg. "It was a difficult race, it felt long, and I had to battle with the car and other things but I profited a lot from people dropping out in front of us."
Di Resta was among the early leaders after opting to have only one tyre change, but a safety car was deployed on lap 30 and his tactics worked against him in the closing stages as he was overtaken by drivers with fresher wheels.
European GP facts
- Track temperature: 44C
- Air temperature: 27C
- Ave wind speed: 1.6 metres per second
- Humidity: 64%
- Fastest lap: Nico Rosberg (lap 54): 1 min 42.163 secs
- Fastest Speeds:
- Sector 1: Jenson Button 285kph (177.09mph)
- Sector 2 : Nico Rosberg 306kph (190.13mph)
- Sector 3 : Fernando Alonso 243kph (150.99mph)
- Speed Trap: M Schumacher 320kph (198.83mph)
"It was very aggressive and we knew if it was going to pay off, it could work but the safety car blew it out of the window," said the Scot.
"I'm not sure what the safety car was for, but you get races like that.
"We need to be happy with a double points finish - Nico finishing fifth and myself seventh.
"We have improved the car from the Barcelona upgrade, so hopefully the guys in the factory will be working hard to put some extra speed on the car for Silverstone."
Another driver to profit from the chaos in front of him was Red Bull's Mark Webber, who started 19th on the grid but finished fourth to move to second in the championship.
"It was another crazy day," the Australian said. "It's difficult to read what will happen on a Sunday at the moment.
"We're all winging it in terms of strategy. Maybe if I had started at the front, I might not have had the clean run I had from the back.
"In the end, I got a lot of points so I am happy and it's a good result for the team."
Nico Rosberg played second fiddle to Mercedes team-mate Michael Schumacher, who earned his first podium since returning to the sport in 2010, but the German was pleased with his sixth-placed finish.
"It felt like I was going to finish 15th at one point, so I am pleased with sixth," he said.
"It was a difficult race and it was a great call for strategy at the end. It gave me many positions. Tyre temperature and degradation was key today, it was such a challenge to get it right."