Team Lotus today had their first foray into Q2 during a dry qualifying session as Heikki Kovalainen secured fifteenth place on the Barcelona grid.
“This is obviously a great day for Team Lotus and I want to thank everyone here and back at the factory for working so hard to get us to this next step in our story,” said the Finn. “There is a lot more to come from this car and while we have performed really well today we can see that we can keep progressing and taking the fight to the cars around us on merit.
“With the work we did overnight and in FP3 I can feel that we have found a much better balance in the high-speed corners, and we can work more on how it feels in the low speed corners which is where I think we will find even more time, but for now this is a good feeling and puts us into a good position for the race tomorrow.”
Jarno Trulli had a qualifying session that was disrupted by technical issues, but he still managed to put his car eighteenth on the grid. “First I want to congratulate to the whole team for getting Heikki into Q2,” he said. “That’s a great achievement for us and a sign of what’s to come.
“For me the session was interrupted by what looks like an electrical issue that meant I was stuck in second gear when I went out for my first run, but we changed the steering wheel and I managed to get a lap in right in the last few seconds that still put me ahead of Rubens, so we’ll start tomorrow from 18th and with the pace we have in the car in race conditions I think we’ll have a good afternoon.”
Chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne acknowledges that Team Lotus benefited from problems for Rubens Barrichello and Nick Heidfeld in securing Kovalainen’s result, but congratulated both drivers on their efforts today.
“That is a very pleasing result and thank you to the whole team for today’s result,” said Gascoyne. “We took advantage of the misfortune that befell a couple of theother cars but Heikki did a great job to get the best out of his runs today, and Jarno put in a strong performance to get in a decent time at the end of Q1 after a gearbox problem cut into his first run.
“Now the important thing is to focus on having a good race tomorrow and learning as much as we can about the upgrades we have brought here over a race distance.”
Team Principal Tony Fernandes was understandably very happy with this qualifying result. “I am so thrilled,” he said. “It is almost unbelievable but this is a great day for Team Lotus and just reward for the effort that the whole team keeps putting in. I am so thrilled for everyone associated with our team.
“Heikki did a fantastic lap and the whole team worked together brilliantly to give him the chance to take his car into Q2, and on top of that Jarno managed to put in a great lap in the dying seconds to put himself into 18th place under a great deal of pressure.
“We have a lot of work to do so we are not going to get carried away, but itis important that we enjoy days like this and the feeling that comes with hard work being rewarded with this sort of result. As I keep saying, these small steps will keep us moving up the grid, so well done and thank you to everyone.”