Best of the new teams Team Lotus had an excellent day at the office today with their drivers qualifying 17th and 19th respectively. Their results have since been improved to 16th and 18th with the demotion of Pastor Maldonado following a five place grid penalty.
16th position was achieved by Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen who has been referred to as the lead driver many times. Kovalainen commended the car and team whilst predicting a dry race, “I think we can be very pleased with the performance today. That last lap in Q1 was as much as I could get out of the car and to get back into Q2 is obviously a great result for the whole team. We had the right plan for the conditions, put it into action on track and it paid off. I don't think I could have got any more out of the package today, so finishing where we did goes down as objective achieved for today. It looks like it'll be a dry race tomorrow, and I think the key for us is to make sure both cars finish. If we can do that, be there to take advantage of anything that happens, and leave Spa having got into Q2 and had a solid race, this will go down as a good weekend for us.” Kovalainen stands in a good position for the race tomorrow if the car holds up.
Italian Jarno Trulli – who will start tomorrow from 18th – seemed less than impressed with his form during today's session yet readily congratulated his teammate and once more the team. “Another good day for the team and congratulations for Heikki for getting back into Q2. For me it was looking pretty good until traffic pretty much ruined my second run, but the car felt good as the track was drying up and we were definitely on the right strategy for the conditions so it's a shame we couldn't make the most of it.”
Renault Sport F1 Support Leader Thierry Salvi commented on the good day from Team Lotus but somewhat disappointing session for Trulli “Heikki drove very well in the conditions and to put his car into the second qualifying session was a good result for the whole team. It is a shame Jarno had traffic on his last run as he had a chance of getting into Q2 as well, but I think we achieved what we wanted to in both sessions so that is very satisfying.”
Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne is overjoyed by the day, after having some excitement injected into his day. “That was an exciting qualifying session for us! Obviously it was great for Heikki to get into Q2 and it was particularly impressive as he was held up in the last corner in Q1 so had more time to come from that lap. I think Jarno would have got into Q2 as well but he was held up on his last run but despite that we can be very satisfied with the effort of the whole team and now we are looking forward to a strong race tomorrow.”
Riad Asmat the giggling Group CEO reiterated Gascoyne's joy, “I am delighted with today's performance from right across the whole team. We had worked this morning on turning the cars around quickly in the garage to take advantage of whatever the weather threw at us in qualifying and it paid dividends with a good use of strategy, some great driving and very solid teamwork to put Heikki into Q2. Jarno was on course to join him as well but suffered from traffic, so with the good reliability we have had all weekend, a very good performance today, now we want to put together the perfect weekend for us and have a clean, problem free Sunday.”
Team Lotus is in two good positions tomorrow to go and get in the mix with the middle teams, expect to see a small Finn blasting through from the start.