Both Team Lotus drivers declared themselves happy with the qualifying China session after Heikki Kovalainen secured nineteenth position on the Shanghai grid, with Jarno Trulli once place behind his team-mate.
“From my perspective I’m very happy with that,” said Kovalainen. “I left it all until the last minute and swapped to a one lap run, putting myself under a bit of pressure, but I put in a good final lap and got under 1.38.
“After FP3 we already knew we’d have a bit of a tricky qualifying session as the track temperatures were a lot lower than yesterday and that definitely affects our car. We’re quite easy on the tyres and when the temperatures drop we need to work harder to get them up to the optimum heat, which means we don’t get everything out of them, but in the race conditions we’re definitely stronger and you can see that we’re steadily doing what we want which is to keep pushing towards the midfield.”
Trulli conceded that he is still not entirely happy with the balance of his car, but was still eight tenth of a second faster than the quickest Virgin Racing car. “I am really happy from the driving point of view because I pushed hard out there today and said over the radio that I think I got as much as I possibly could out of the car today,” said the Italian. “I’m still working on finding the right balance but little by little we’re progressing so I think we keep on doing a good job across the whole team and after a good weekend from the reliability point of view we should have a good race tomorrow.”
In contrast, Mike Gascoyne was slightly disappointed with the performance, feeling that the team should have been closer to the midfield. “A trouble free day but disappointing in terms of performance,” summarised the Team Lotus Chief Technical Officer. “In the cooler conditions we clearly struggled more with the tyres than last week and yesterday and we were some way off the level of performance we expected.
“However, we have seen that even in these conditions our race pace is much better and we are considerably more competitive so I think we can take the race to the midfield group in front and do ourselves justice.”