Yet another missed opportunities weekend for Lotus with only one car in Q3. If they were the team to look out for a few races back now Lotus is slowly falling behind.
Let’s see what Alan Permane has to say about this qualifying session:
Alan Permane, Director of Trackside Operations:
Q: How do you assess today’s qualifying performance?
A: “We had a problem with the hydraulics on Kimi’s car in the session which meant the differential was not working properly, so he did a good job to qualify where he did. Romain went through to the final qualifying session comfortably and then did a really good first timed lap in that session on scrubbed tyres. The new tyres didn’t give him the grip and confidence he expected and his lap on these wasn’t any faster. It’s unusual that we would have a warm-up issue here in these conditions, but we’ll be looking at everything to understand what happened.”
Q:How difficult has it been to read the track here?
A: “The track was very dirty after yesterday’s rain so we saw a lot of evolution today, though it wasn’t particularly tricky to predict. Having said that we’ve had a little bit more trouble than usual setting the cars up; just finding the right balance with the heavy breaking here, making it comfortable enough into the corner and not having too much understeer mid-corner. Certainly with Romain it’s fair to say that he’s not as comfortable as he normally is with his car”
Q: Could Kimi’s hydraulic problem in qualifying carry over into the race?
A: “I have no doubt that we’ll resolve Kimi’s issue for tomorrow. We can see the symptoms clearly on the data and we recognised it very early on. We informed Kimi that there was a problem during qualifying. It wasn’t something we could easily remedy during the session but I’m very confident that we’ll find the problem overnight and fix it.”
Kimi Räikkönen: “Obviously it’s disappointing to go out in Q2 but we had some issues with the differential which meant the car wasn’t handling as it should. When the grid is so tight it makes a big difference not having the car exactly as you like it. Still, we had no issues on the long runs yesterday, we have options to choose from with the tyres, and the warmer weather is definitely suiting us better so hopefully we can put everything right before tomorrow and go from there. The race is where it counts, so let’s see what we can do.”
Romain Grosjean: “For sure we wanted a bit more from qualifying but this is a tricky circuit to get right, and the big variation between conditions yesterday and today didn’t help. The warmer temperatures definitely suited us more but not quite as well as we thought. The car felt pretty strong but my last run could have been better, which is a shame. Still, making it through to Q3 is never a bad thing and it’s a long race tomorrow. Our car has been quite easy on tyres so far this season and hopefully that could make the difference. Last time I started in P7 we ended up on the podium, so let’s
hope it can happen again tomorrow!”
Source: Lotus F1 Team, Images: LAT Photographic