Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane said Romain Grosjean lost out to Mark Webber at the end of the race because the team took a gamble on trying to beat both the Red Bulls.
Grosjean led almost half of the race but was passed by both Red Bulls during his final stint.
“What we could have done, and we discussed it at the time, was to forget about [Sebastian] Vettel and assume he was going to beat us anyway so go longer on that second stint,” Permane told Autosport.
“We may then have beaten Mark. But at the time we said, let’s just try and win. Let’s give it a go.”
“To gamble with second and third wasn’t a huge thing for us,” Permane added, because the team were already comfortably out-scoring Mercedes and Ferrari.
It was the second race in a row Lotus have taken points off their closest championship rivals, meaning the contest for second place in the teams’ points is very much a three-way fight. Ferrari, Mercedes and Lotus are covered by 33 points with 172 up for grabs before the end of the season.
A key factor in Lotus’s recent gains has been the improving form of Grosjean. He scored podium finish in the last two races and was on course for another in Singapore before suffering an engine problem.
Max Verstappen has picked his illegal pass on Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap of the United States Grand Prix as his favorite overtake of the Formula 1 season.
Verstappen was one of F1’s most prolific passers through 2017, making 22 overtaking moves as per Pirelli’s end of year data.
When asked to pick out his favorite in a post-season interview on his official website, Verstappen picked his bold move on Raikkonen at the Circuit of The Americas that sparked controversy when he was penalized for completing the overtake off-track.
The Red Bull driver had charged from 16th on the grid to cross the line third, only for a five-second time penalty to deny him a podium and drop him to fourth in a snap call made before the post-race ceremony.
“Of course, at first your initial reaction is something like: ‘Why? It was a great move.’ But when you look at the rules, it was not correct,” Verstappen said.
“Nothing was by the book that whole weekend. Drivers were getting off track without being penalized for it. But you always need to focus on the positives: it was still a nice race and everyone enjoyed the excitement all the way down to the final lap.
“It’s always nice to be on the podium, but to finish fourth after having started sixteenth, is still a great result.
“It wasn’t as painful as most people thought it was. In the end I made my peace with it.”
Asked if it was his best move of the year, Verstappen said: “Yes, because this year I actually didn’t have that many overtakes.
“With this car you are actually only able to overtake on the straights, which is really not that satisfying compared to last year.”