Lotus have mixed day in Australia but are still best of the new teams

After their runaway success in Bahrain, Lotus Racing had a more mixed race in today’s Australian Grand Prix. Jarno Trulli failed to start the race after a hydraulic problem on the grid but Heikki Kovalainen reached the chequered flag in 13th place and was comfortable faster than the cars of the other new teams.

Kovalainen said that he had a good time around Albert Park, and is looking forward to Sepang next weekend. “I enjoyed it today, I had good fun out there. Our target was to finish the race and from the start we were quite comfortably ahead of the new teams. When Glock dropped I just focused on keeping up a decent rhythm, not making any mistakes and bringing the car home.

“It's difficult to say whether a different strategy would have worked better – if we'd stopped once more and put a fresh set of tyres on, that might have been better way to go, but our target was to finish the race and we achieved that again. Now we go to Malaysia with a good feeling and we're all looking forward to that.”

Jarno Trulli was disappointed that he couldn’t start, but is now focussing on the next race in Malaysia. “Unfortunately we couldn't start the race today because we had a hydraulic failure on the grid and, despite the team's best efforts, we couldn't fix it in time to make the race. We'll work now to fix that for Malaysia and I'm looking forward to getting out there and seeing what we can do in Sepang.”

Mike Gascoyne voiced the mixed fortunes in Lotus Racing’s day, and also congratulated Karun Chandhok on getting Hisapania’s first ever F1 finish. “Obviously a very disappointing start. Jarno had a hydraulic power pack fail on the grid, not something we've seen before and we couldn't get it changed in time. Balancing that was another strong race from Heikki who did really well staying out on the option tyre. He made a good start but lost a few places after the accident on the opening lap, but he did a great job to get the car home, keeping us tenth in the championship. And congratulations to Karun Chandhok for getting a finish!”

Tony Fernandes, the team principal, pointed out that Kovalainen wasn’t far off finishing in the points, and had consolatory words for his other driver. “I guess we've got to have had some bad luck at some point and unfortunately it was today. I'm disappointed for Jarno, but Heikki did us proud – three places away from a point, and he was keeping pace with most of the other cars throughout the race. Maybe it would have been nice if three other cars had gone out so we could get a point, but, joking aside, it is good that at this stage of the season we're already thinking about points. We're in a nice position for Malaysia. We're looking forward to going home, and really looking forward to giving our fans something to shout about.”