Team Lotus celebrated a double finish at Spa-Francorchamps – Jarno Trulli in fourteenth, one place ahead of team-mate Heikki Kovalainen – despite both drivers being involved in the first corner melee that was triggered by Bruno Senna on the opening lap of the Belgian Grand Prix.
Trulli was delighted to complete a race without having any reliability problems, although he did have to struggle with a damaged car for virtually the entire race after being in the middle of that early accident.
“For me and the whole team that was a really good race,” commented the Italian. “I had a great start, passing a few other cars away from the line but then the accident in T1 meant both Heikki and I suffered damage – him to his nosecone, me to the floor and I had to run the whole race with that damage, so to finish 14th after that is just fantastic.
“Apart from the start I enjoyed the whole race – I passed a number of cars and when the safety car came out I was able to close the gap to the cars ahead. That gave me the chance to fight with the Renault and I passed him and was then able to keep pace with the other guys ahead.
“One of the best points of the race was the first stop I made – I came in just behind one of the HRTs and the pitcrew did a brilliant job to get me out fast enough to pass him in the pitlane, so I want to thank them and the whole team for a really solid weekend. Racing like this, with no problems and with a car I can fight with all afternoon is very satisfying, so now I can't wait to get back in when we get to Italy and keep up the momentum we've built up here.”
Kovalainen was also pleased with his afternoon, even though he had to endure an unscheduled pit stop early on the grand prix. “That was a good race for us, obviously apart from the start!” said the Finn. “I got off the line well but it all tightened up at the first corner and I touched Jarno after someone else had hit me – I was caught in a bit of a sandwich but after I'd pitted and had a new nose it all went pretty well from there. The soft tyres weren't working quite as well as the mediums, but I was still able to push and the main thing is we had a two car finish in strong positions, so that's a good end to the weekend.”
Team Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne praised both the drivers and the pit crew for their efforts, which led to the young Anglo-Asian team achieving one of their best finishes.
“That is a very good result for the whole team today and goes down as one of our strongest performances since we came into the sport,” he said. “We had a poor start where both cars were last after making contact in the first corner but we recovered very well, and to have finished in 14th and 15th after that is very pleasing.
“Both drivers were excellent today, but the pitcrew deserve special praise for having taken a massive step forward in their performance. All our stops were exactly what we needed so congratulations to them for a job very well done today.”