Lotus Racing are edging closer to the promised land for the new Formula 1 teams – tenth place in the constructors’ championship – with eighteenth and nineteenth place in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Heikki Kovalainen, who finished ahead of his teammate today, enjoyed some good battles with his fellow back-markers, and is looking forward to the final grand prix of the season. “It was a good race, probably the best we could have hoped for in the conditions today,” said the Finn. “I made a good start and passed Timo straight away which put me in a good position for the rest of the afternoon.
“I enjoyed it out there – I had a good battle with Jarno and Timo for quite a lot of the race, and as we neared the end Jarno was very close so I had to make sure I didn't make any mistakes and we could get both cars home. The important thing today is that we are now one race away from tenth and that will be the goal next weekend in Abu Dhabi.”
Jarno Trulli said that he was hampered by a small problem today, and was pleased with the team result. “Another very positive result for the team and I'm really happy I got to the end of the race!” said Trulli. “I had yet another small hydraulic issue, but good work from the guys in the garage managed that, and towards the end of the race I was able to push Heikki and end up just behind him.
“I didn't have a great start, I had a lot of wheelspin but pretty soon I was able to attack Timo and just as I was shaping up to pass him he pitted and I came out ahead of him after the stops. After that I caught up with Heikki and we then had a pretty comfortable run to the end of the race.”
Mike Gascoyne congratulated the newly crowned constructors’ champions after the race and said that Lotus will be looking for more of the same next Sunday at the final race of the season. “An excellent race for us after what has been a very good weekend,” said Gascoyne. “Congratulations to Red Bull for winning their first constructors' championship today, and for us it was a textbook race today.
“Heikki made a great start and went straight past Timo, and Jarno followed him past a few laps later. After that we were able to open a gap to our nearest rivals and maintain track position right to the end.
“It was a very professional race from the whole team and pushes us another step closer to tenth so we will be aiming to take that performance to Abu Dhabi and repeat it at the final race.”
Team principal Tony Fernandes echoed Gascoyne’s congratulations to Red Bull, and also had praise for his own team on their efforts in Brazil. “Firstly my sincere congratulations to Red Bull Racing on securing the constructors' title today,” he said. “They are a superb team, full of honest, professional people and we are very excited about working with them next year. They have set the standards Mike and his aero team must reach and that is an excellent challenge for him and our whole team.
“From our point of view I am very happy with the performance today. We looked a class team out there and the two car finish is just reward for the hard work this weekend and all year. Two flawless pitstops from the team in the garage showed that we have talent everywhere, and for a team that is still only a year old that is very impressive.
“What pleased me most is the fact that we kept pace with most of the cars in the middle of the pack, right up to the fifth place car who we were only just over a second away from in race pace.
“With all the steps we have taken to build such a solid foundation for our team next year we will be right in the mix with the established teams in 2011, but for today I want to say congratulations to the whole team. Now we focus on Abu Dhabi, the last race of the season and the one where I hope we secure tenth place.”