Team Lotus were close to making it through to Q2 today in qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix with Heikki Kovalainen about half a second off the time set by seventeenth place man Rubens Barrichello in Q1.
The Anglo-Asian outfit had to settle with eighteenth place on the grid for Kovalainen, who starts just one position higher than team-mate Jarno Trulli.
“I’m happy with that,” insisted Kovalainen. “We only have to find a little bit more to join the fight in Q2 but today we had a good strategy and got everything that we could from the tyres. I’m pleased with my own performance – the quick lap was right on the money with no mistakes so it’s a good feeling to keep edging closer.
“We’re all looking forward to the Barcelona upgrade package where hopefully that will deliver a greater performance gain compared to what the opposition will bring but we’re nearly there so for now it’s just about keeping up the effort and putting in another strong performance tomorrow.”
Trulli struggled with a DRS issue today, but still qualified comfortably ahead of Virgin Racing‘s Jerome D’Ambrosio, the twentieth-place qualifier.
“I’m pretty much satisfied with my run today,” said the Italian. “Unfortunately I had a DRS issue which obviously costs a lot of time on a circuit like this but I think that all round we did as good a job as we could today. Our race pace definitely gives us a chance to fight with the cars ahead so hopefully we can sort out the DRS issue and replicate what we did in the race in China.”
Chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne congratulated his two drivers on their efforts today, and is also optimistic of a good performance in tomorrow’s race:
“I think we can be reasonably happy with qualifying and both drivers got the most they could out of the car,” he said. “Unfortunately we went into qualifying knowing that we had a problem with the DRS on Jarno's car and that costs quite a lot of time around Istanbul Park which explains his final position. However, we know that we are kinder on the tyres in the race than the cars in front of us so I think we can have a very competitive Sunday and take the fight to the cars in front.”