Abu Dhabi GP: Lotus says Kimi Raikkonen's win was a relief
|By Edd Straw and Pablo Elizalde||Sunday, November 4th 2012, 17:57 GMT|
Lotus boss Eric Boullier admitted Kimi Raikkonen's win in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix came as a relief for the team.
Raikkonen, who returned to Formula 1 this season after a two-year absence, had been close to taking victory on a few occasions during the campaign.
Despite having been on the podium six times before Abu Dhabi, the elusive win had not come until the antepenultimate round.
Boullier said it had been frustrating to not have been on the top step of the podium yet.
"We had a better first half of the season and we nearly came close to the win and you could have felt frustration without this win, so it is relief for everybody," said Boullier.
He denied, however, that winning its first race of the year meant getting the monkey off its back, as he feels the 2012 season has already been successful for Lotus.
"I think we had already [got the monkey off our backs] this year. It is just a little bit of extra motivation and belief in what we are doing and capable of doing," Boullier added.
The team boss conceded Raikkonen had benefited from some of the circumstances, but feels the Finn delivered a great performance nonetheless.
"Obviously we benefited from Lewis [Hamilton]'s retirement and other circumstances," he said. "But I think Kimi put on a great drive to do it and he had two good restarts after the safety cars and the team had a good strategy to protect him. So I'm very happy."
Raikkonen was the protagonist of one of the highlights of the race when his race engineer informed him of the gap between himself and second-placed Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso in the latter part of the event.
"Leave me alone, I know what to do," the former world champion told his engineer.
Boullier said the Finn was simply focusing on pushing to the limit on every lap.
"I think Kimi wanted to focus on the driving as you can understand and he asked to only have the information on the pitboard so I think he knew what Alonso was doing and that he was closing," he said.
"This is Kimi, but also he knew that there was a chance to score the win and that he had to do qualifying lap after qualifying lap."