Raikkonen hopes for bright future

  • Last Updated: November 5 2012, 19:30 GMT

Kimi Raikkonen is hoping his victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will prove to be a turning point for Lotus.

Kimi Raikkonen: 'I'm very happy for the team'

Raikkonen took full advantage of Lewis Hamilton's latest misfortune to claim the 19th win of his Formula One career, with his last just over three years ago in Belgium, albeit with a two-year break.

For Lotus, after a number of near misses this season, it appeared the win was never going to happen, with even team principal Eric Boullier telling fans after the Indian Grand Prix to wait until next year.

But following a stunning start as he jumped from fourth to second, on lap 20 Raikkonen inherited a lead which he never relinquished.

For the second time in the last five races when leading, Hamilton was forced to retire, this occasion his McLaren incurring a fuel pressure problem.

Raikkonen went on to take the chequered flag by 0.8secs to Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, with Sebastian Vettel completing the podium with a remarkable drive from the pitlane.

When asked as to his emotions, Raikkonen was typically nondescript as he said: "Not much really."

It is the Finn's way, although, he at least recognises what it means for the team whose last victory from their Enstone base was in 2008 when they were known as Renault.

"I'm very happy for the team - and myself - but mainly for the team as it's been a really hard season for them, not an easy time," said Raikkonen.

"Hopefully this will give them more belief, not just for the guys doing all the work, but also for the guys who run the team.

"I hope this can turn around the tables and give us many more good races and wins. If not this year, then next year."

The Lotus name has had its share of problems in recent times since it was revived in 2010, with this win its first since the 1987 US Grand Prix East in Detroit when the late Ayrton Senna was at the wheel.

"It's been a long time for them, I guess," added Raikkonen.

"It's a name. It's the same team, and it has been since Fernando was there, but just a different name.

"It's a great name for us, a good past, but you know I race for the team whatever the name is.

"I don't really care, so it's just for the guys who do all the work. Maybe it looks good in somebody's eyes but for me it really makes no difference."

Vettel's drive was an eye-opener after his pitlane start for a fuel infringement following qualifying, losing just three points to Alonso who trails by 10 going into the final two races.

With Webber crashing out, Red Bull are five points shy of winning a third consecutive constructors' title in America, where Vettel can win his third straight drivers' crown if he finishes 15 points ahead of Alonso.

Among the minor placings, Jenson Button finished fourth for McLaren, who at least set a new F1 record of 56 consecutive races in the points, with Force India's Paul di Resta ninth.

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