There were contrasting fortunes for the two Team Lotus drivers in today’s Spanish Grand Prix, but the team were pleased with the progress made on a weekend when they introduced a significant new aero package to the T128.
Jarno Trulli finished in eighteenth but was pleased with his own performance despite some tricky circumstances. “The race was really good,” said the Italian. “It was another great start for me, another strong start this season, so that was very positive. I gained a number of positions and was right in the race in the beginning.
“Obviously with soft tyres our car was looking better than it did with the hard tyres and that gave us a very good first couple of stints. Unfortunately towards the middle of the race I felt I had a problem with the exhaust which affected the rear end of the car and meant that my performance was not as good as earlier. But all in all, it was a very good race for me.
“I fought like a lion and I’m happy with myself and felt that I really got the best out of the car today. There’s still a bit of work to do to catch up with the guys in front, but it’s fantastic that we’ve lapped the guys behind us once again. The overall aero package is good – we just need to focus on developing that for the future and increase the gap even more from the guys behind, and keep on closing the distance to the cars ahead.”
Heikki Kovalainen‘s race came to an abrupt halt on Lap 52 after an accident in Turn 4. The Finn takes the blame for this incident, and is confident of a good race in Monaco next weekend.
“It’s a real shame my afternoon came to an end like that,” he said. “I made a mistake on the entry to turnfour and went off but up until that point the race was pretty good.
“Both Jarno and I were right in the mix early on and we werefighting in the midfield for a lot of the race but then the tyres started to go off and the early pace wasn’t there for the later stages of the afternoon. Maybe we should have pitted earlier on but we’ve still learnt a lot from this weekend and can take that to Monaco where I think it will be a very interesting weekend for everyone.”
Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne also revealed that Kovalainen was carrying some damage earlier in the race, but said that, overall, the weekend had been pretty good for the team:
“That was a long hard race that was all about managing the tyres,” he said. “Both drivers started well but Heikki suffered some damage to his front wing that helped Jarno get past. From then on the pace was good.
“We were trying to stay on three stops and maybe stopped a little late in the first stint, but in the end it was a shame we were not able to get both cars to the flag. Heikki made a small mistake on lap 52 and then Jarno had a cracked exhaust which meant we had to keep an eye on that, but overall we have made real progress this weekend and have amassed a great deal of data on the new package that will help us learn how to get the most out of all the changes, so it is another positive weekend for the whole team.”