Team Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne said that today in China was the best Friday practice of the season so far, but still felt that the team did not show their full performance thanks to traffic issues.
“That was a far more productive Friday than we have had in the two previous races this season and I think it is a measure of our increased competitiveness that we are actually a little disappointed with the overall pace,” Gascoyne said.
“We ran Luiz Razia this morning and he did a good job for the team, despite having a suspension problem that brought his run to a premature end.
“With the race drivers we completed the full programme on each car but traffic interrupted both their runs on the soft tyres so we are a little disappointed that we were not able to show more pace that we know is in the cars.
“The tyres are working pretty well here – we have found our way around the warm up issues, so while today is satisfying in terms of reliability, there is definitely more to come tomorrow and we want to be pushing towards Q2.”
Brazilian rookie Luiz Razia completed just nine laps this morning, but seemed pleased with his efforts: “It was good to get back in the car and even though the suspension issue brought the session to an earlier end than we would have liked I could still feel that the car has taken a step forward since I last drove it in Barcelona. I was taking it steadily, aiming to bring the lap times down and give the team some useful feedback so it’s a shame I couldn’t complete the plan, but that’s racing.”
Jarno Trulli got back in the car this afternoon, and completed 32 laps as he finished 19th fastest. However, the Italian is not yet entirely happy with the set-up of his T128.
“Clearly it’s good that I had a trouble free afternoon but I am struggling a bit with the balance to be honest,” he said. “We’ll work on that tonight with the data we’ve generated today and with another clear session tomorrow we should be able to pick up where we left off in Malaysia.”
In contrast, team-mate Heikki Kovalainen sounded happier with the car, but did have some problems with traffic that prevented him from setting faster laps.
“It’s good to get through the whole day with no reliability issues and hopefully that sets us up well for the weekend ahead,” said the Finn. “The car had a good balance this morning but this afternoon the changes we made maybe didn’t take us in the right direction so I wasn’t quite as comfortable in FP2.
“I had a few issues with traffic on my performance run which meant I couldn’t get everything out of it but having had a clear day we’ll put in the work tonight as see where we are tomorrow.”