Lotus F1 showed potential pace in the first day of the 2015 Chinese Grand Prix while they gave Jolyon Palmer his first free-practice run of the season.
Palmer took to the track for FP1 and managed a respectable fifteenth place from 25 laps on a circuit he had no prior experience of. “I’ve been waiting to get my hands on the E23 during a Grand Prix weekend and the experience didn’t disappoint.” said Palmer.
“The track was quite green which provided its own set of slippery challenges and I had to learn the circuit quickly as I hadn’t driven in Shanghai before but overall I’m happy with P15. I was able to complete a decent tally of laps and test the limits of grip on a couple of occasions on the fresh track. It was great to be out on track and mixing it on a Grand Prix weekend.” he added.
Romain Grosjean returned to the cockpit for the afternoon session and finished in ninth place to focus on tyre evaluations, speaking after the session the Frenchman hinted that he wasn’t happy with only being able to run one session. “Obviously I’d have preferred to be in the car for both sessions but we had a good afternoon and we’re always happy to see a top ten lap time” he said.
“We completed a good number of laps and the car feels basically pretty strong. As always, we’ve got some areas we can improve on but we’ve made a good start.”
Team-mate Pastor Maldonado finished both sessions in eleventh place but admitted there was work to do ahead of Sunday’s race, “I didn’t feel 100% happy with the car for all of today, but we made good progress on getting the set-up where I want it so it’s been a good day.
“The weather’s been pretty good here and certainly better than some of the forecasts we saw earlier in the week. It’s a fun circuit to drive with some good challenges and I think we should have a strong car for tomorrow’s qualifying.” he added.
Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane was happy with the performance from all three drivers, “A solid day for us with no issues to report. Jolyon did a great job for the first time in the car in an official practice session and ended the session just outside the top ten and only six tenths off of Pastor’s lap time so that was a strong first effort.
“Both Pastor and Romain made good progress with their set-ups and there’s further time to be found. We’re looking forward to seeing what’s possible tomorrow.”