Singapore played host to the 2012 GP2 Championship season finale and despite the best efforts of team and drivers, Lotus narrowly missed out on taking the team’s championship title. Going into the final race on Sunday Lotus GP was just two points away from the lead, however, a second placed finish from Esteban Gutierrez was not quite enough to get the job done.
Qualifying third on the grid in a shortened session and finishing a brilliant second in race one and securing his seventh podium finish of the season, Esteban was confident of a strong result in the final race of the season. However, try as hard as he might, he was unable to get past the new 2012 champion, Davide Valsecchi, and crossed the line in sixth place.
This finish saw the Mexican racer secure his goal of finishing on the drivers’ championship podium (third). Teammate James Calado was suffering from food poisoning in race one that resulted in a visit to the hospital later in the day, had a tough weekend. Despite a brilliant drive on day two, while still suffering the effects from the day before as well as starting from the back of the grid drove to tenth place at the finish, but his gallant efforts didn’t reward the team with the much deserved points needed to take the coveted 2012 teams championship crown. James finished the season on the fourth rung of the drivers’ championship.
This was an extremely complex season for Lotus GP where they had to come to grips with new rules and using two different tire specifications, but as underlined by the final race of the season, where Gutierrez completed the entire race on super soft rubber, the lessons and data collected throughout the year will be put to good use in 2013.
“I'm delighted to secure a 7th podium and a great deal of points as it was a challenging weekend. Between it being a track we did not know and the rain in practice, we had to go straight in qualifying without knowing where we were set-up wise. It was a bit of a gamble but Lotus GP handled the situation perfectly once again. After a strong strategy that put me in second position, I stayed close to Max Chilton waiting for the opportunity to get past him, but at the same time my priority was to consolidate a good result as my first aim was third position in the championship. This has been the most rewarding season of my career, despite the fact I did not win the title, because this series is extremely competitive and I experienced many ups and downs. But that's what makes you a better driver and stronger driver. Many thanks to all the members of Lotus GP who helped me a lot this year just like they did since we started working together for what has been a fruitful and precious collaboration.”
“It was certainly not the ideal way to end the championship as I suffered from food poisoning and went to the hospital before the first race to have some fluids. I was so weak that I couldn’t take anymore and I had to throw in the towel after a few interesting battles. It would have been good to get into the points to help Lotus GP lift the team's title but that was just not possible. Towards the end of the sprint race I was struggling with tyre degradation on the super softs but, all things considered, 10th was OK although I lost the chance to be on the podium of the championship.”
“Lotus GP missed the title, but not by much. James’s deception is shared. Considering his inspirational driving and ability to excel, the end of the story would have been different without his food poisoning. It was one of Esteban’s best weekends and victory was certainly within his reach, but for various reasons he could not grab it. It is always important to finish the season on a high note and Lotus GP can be proud of its achievements in Singapore and throughout the entire season. We will learn from some weekends that were costly to us in order to prepare for next year where our goal is to re-register our name in the history of the GP2 Series.”
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