Lotus fastest of new teams in Silverstone qualifying


Lotus Racing were again the fastest of the new teams in qualifying for the British Grand Prix, with Heikki Kovalainen nineteenth on the grid for tomorrow’s race.

Jarno Trulli will start from P21, just behind the Virgin of Timo Glock.

“I'm pleased because I'm in the position I targeted for qualifying, but even though we're the fastest of the new teams, that wasn't my best qualifying session this year,” said Kovalainen. “It was pretty tricky out there today – it was windier than in FP3 and I found the balance wasn't quite where it had been this morning. Nevertheless, we're in a good position and good shape for tomorrow.

“The car feels good on the heavier fuel load, so I think we'll be ok. I also want to say that Jarno did a great job out there – to be within half a second after the bad luck he's had all weekend is great, and I hope we can get both cars home tomorrow. That's the main goal, so let's see what happens.”

Trulli said that he was pleased with his qualifying position, understandable after he completed less than 15 laps over the three practice sessions: “I'm pretty happy with my result to be honest – I managed to learn the circuit very quickly, almost having to do so during qualifying as the problems I had on Friday and Saturday meant I've had very little time on track!

“Qualifying was the first time I managed to really push the car, as a hydraulics problem had cut short FP3, so, overall, I'm happy and my position is better than I expected.”

Although both his drivers were happy with their positions, Lotus Chief Technical Officer thinks that their is still room for improvement in the team. “I have mixed feelings after qualifying. Again we had some mechanical problems with Jarno this morning, which meant that going into qualifying he had only completed 12 laps over the whole weekend on the new circuit layout, so he had a very difficult task in front of him and did a good job to be as close in time to his team mate as he was.

“Heikki had traffic on both his runs, which was a shame as he could have got a little more out of the car had he had a clear run, but he was ahead of the other new teams so that's a positive. Overall it's been quite a difficult weekend so far but we're looking forward to the race tomorrow and are focusing on getting both cars to the finish.”

Team Principal Tony Fernandes was pleased to see that some of the incredible support seen at Silverstone today was for the newly resurrected Lotus team. He also thought that this qualifying result represented the best possible under the circumstances.

“We did as well as we could have expected with not a lot of running this weekend, but well done to Heikki who probably could have gone faster if he had not hit so much traffic. Jarno did exceptionally well, having only run a few laps all weekend, and that's what his pace, experience and knowledge gives us. It was great to see the Lotus Racing flags in the crowd, and a lot of green and yellow shirts and caps. Tomorrow, hopefully, we can make them proud, bring two cars home and put on a show worthy of the efforts of the team.”