Lotus apologised to Raikkonen for wrong call

Lotus F1 Team, LAT Photographic

3 July 2013 by Ryan Wood

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier says he apologised to a "frustrated" Kimi Raikkonen after admitting they made a bad strategic error by not pitting him under the Safety Car.

The Finn had been in third position when Sebastian Vettel stopped on the pit straight, causing Charlie Whiting to call upon the Safety Car.

Those around Raikkonen pitted for fresh tyres, but Lotus advised their driver to stay out and when he questioned the call over the radio, his engineer replied "it's too late now."

The 33-year-old dropped to fifth after Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton passed him in the closing laps of the race as he struggled with his tyres.

In hindsight, Boullier admits their call cost them several points and Raikkonen a podium.

"Our strategy was great until the last Safety Car. We should have called Kimi in to save at least one position and make the podium. Unfortunately we made the wrong call for which we apologised to Kimi and to the team," said the Frenchman.

"It was pretty obvious with hindsight that we made the wrong call. No team can say they make the correct call on every occasion, whether in race strategy, car design philosophy or any other aspect of the sport."

Boullier doesn't want to waste time thinking about it though and says he's focussed on the next race in Germany.

"Kimi was pretty frustrated when he got out of the car which is understandable – we wouldn’t want a driver who wasn’t frustrated after what happened – but there’s no point sitting in the corner sulking; we’re focused on getting a good result in Germany."