On a track that in no way suits their car, the Lotus F1 Team saw Frenchman Romain Grosjean qualify fourteenth in Montreal, but Venezuelan team-mate Pastor Maldonado will start the Canadian Grand Prix from seventeenth after suffering a mechanical issue in qualifying that saw him stop at the side of the track.
Grosjean admitted he expected to struggle in Montreal, and this was realised by qualifying down in fourteenth. He knows the race will also be hard, but he’s hoping to snatch a point or two.
“We were expecting a tough race here and we knew our top speed in a lower downforce configuration is probably not our biggest strength,” said Grosjean. “There was a bit of a fuss getting back out for my second run in Q2 and I missed being able to set another lap time – and I missed out on that opportunity by only a second!
“But I’m quite happy as the set-up changes made since Monaco are working really well; we’re definitely heading in the right direction and I’m enjoying driving it. If you look at the time difference to the front we’re still making good progress so at a track where the characteristics suit our car better we should get a much better position.”
“Let’s see what the weather is like tomorrow. It could be even hotter than today and tyre degradation could be much higher than we’ve seen so far. Let’s see what happens.”
Team-mate Maldonado was forced to stop the car during the first part of qualifying with an apparent turbo problem that left his down in seventeenth on the grid. He feels that he could and should have made it into the second part of qualifying.
“I could feel that I was losing power from the car, and had a call from the engineers on the radio to stop the car, which was a shame as we probably could have been competing in Q2, perhaps not Q3, but the potential was there,” said Maldonado. “I had to stop the car to avoid any damage to the engine, and we’ve analysed that it is a turbo-related issue, rather than a power unit one, and thankfully there should be no drama for tomorrow’s race. We haven’t had any problems with the engine in the past few races so from that perspective, things are looking positive.”
“Many people ask if I’m unlucky, but I think from our side we just need to work harder to fix all the problems that we have come across. This weekend we knew that we were not in a position to fight for the top ten. We have done our best and tried to compensate for the lack of power plus our car is not very good on the slower speed corners. We thought Q2 was possible and realistic and it would have been, if not for the problem.
“We have good traction, but not much grip in the slower speed corners. This type of track is not helping us and I hope that the next one will be much better for us as a team, it’s quite similar to Barcelona, so we should be much more competitive than here in Canada.
“I feel really good with the team to be honest, for sure we’re having problems, but there is a great atmosphere here and I feel very welcome, which is important. Lotus F1 Team is a big and established team, so there is no reason not to be happy. We just need to work harder. When the car is quicker, I’ll be there. There’s no point to be down, we have to keep the motivation high – I feel very motivated – and tomorrow I will do my best, as always. I will try to gain as many places as I can if it’s possible.”