Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen has been backed by his team to drive Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel to a nervous edge, according to team principal Eric Boullier.
While Vettel comfortably won the Bahrain Grand Prix, Raikkonen rose to an impressive second place having started eighth on the grid to ensure that Vettel could only extend his championship lead to ten points. According to ESPNF1, Boullier said Raikkonen will keep the pressure up on Vettel with his consistency and it will be down to Lotus to ensure he has the car to challenge at every circuit.
“He’s going to put pressure on Vettel, definitely,” said Boullier. “We will give everything to support Raikkonen to obviously put the right pressure on Vettel and maybe force him to crack under pressure.
“He’s clearly an incredible finisher and nobody can stop him to get another lot of races finished.”
Boullier was also optimistic about the development potential of their E21 car, having seen the updates that are in the pipeline.
“The team is doing a great job. The development of the car is going very well and it’s going to be interesting to see and to follow.”
McLaren pair bury the hatchet
Meanwhile, Jenson Button of McLaren said he and teammate Sergio Perez had a candid discussion to ‘clear the air’ following their on-track battles during the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The two McLaren drivers touched on more than one occasion during a close fight, with Perez ultimately prevailing as he finished in sixth place, while Button struggled to tenth after a late fourth pit stop. A storm of words followed the culmination of the race before Button took to the micro-blogging website Twitter yesterday to announce that he had settled his differences with Perez.
“I had an important chat with Perez to clear the air,” said Button. “As a team we will move forward and live to fight another day. We aim to roll on to Barcelona (Spanish Grand Prix).”
Immediately after the race, Button had labelled Perez’s driving as ‘dirty’ and implied that the collisions displayed an infantile nature.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2013.