Team Lotus ended qualifying in Valencia as the best of the new teams but fell reasonably short of the lap set by Jaime Alguersuari in the Toro Rosso, who will start just ahead of Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli on the European Grand Prix grid.
Kovalainen out-qualified Trulli for the seventh time this season, and was pretty pleased with his efforts in this afternoon’s session: “For me that was a pretty good performance,” commented the Finn. “I found some more time on my second run and I definitely got as much as I could out of myself and the car, so even though the gap to the cars ahead isn’t what we want it to be it’s still satisfying to have delivered on that goal.
“We knew from the practice sessions that the time difference would be about what it turned out to be and despite the hard work put in right across the whole team we weren’t able to close it up any more.”
Trulli blamed traffic for his failure to beat Kovalainen again, but thinks that the car performs better in race trim tomorrow: “Traffic played a major role in my qualifying today,” he said. “Everywhere I went it seemed as if there was someone right on the racing line, so to be honest I’m a bit disappointed.
“The car felt good and without the traffic I’m sure there was more pace in it, but even though we were all told not to back off in sector three there were other cars doing that and unfortunately that had a big influence on the times. However, now it’s all about the race tomorrow and I think we can continue to show that the speed of the car in race trim is good. I want to make sure I have another good start and let’s see what happens from there.”
Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne said that reliability is still the priority for the team on race day: “A reasonably good qualifying session for us,” he said, summarising the performance today. “We are a little further down than we expected to be here, but we are well clear of the cars behind. Tomorrow will be a long hard race and the goal for us is to have a reliable two car finish and see what we can pick up.”