Formula 1

Team Lotus Enjoy Overnight Improvements Before Qualifying in Monza

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The Team Lotus drivers noticed a definite improvement in their car compared to yesterday as the team took their usual grid slots on row 10 – ahead of Virgin Racing and HRT, but behind everybody else – during qualifying today at Monza.

Jarno Trulli took nineteenth place, out-qualifying team-mate Heikki Kovalainen for just the second time this season.

“I'm really happy with the job the team has done today and I think I got the most I could out of the car, particularly on the second run,” said Trulli. “There's only really one line here in Monza – it's not a particularly technical circuit but you need to be extremely precise and with the power steering system we had in Hungary back on the car I'm able to feel my way around the whole lap, which gives me the chance to put in laps like I did to get into the 1.26s.

“The car has definitely improved since yesterday – we found the balance we were struggling for in FP1 and FP2 and I think that puts us in a good place for the race tomorrow.”

Kovalainen was not quite as happy with the balance of his car, but still recognised an improvement from Friday practice. The Finn will be focusing on the cars in front of him when the lights go out at the start of the race tomorrow.

“The car felt good today but I struggled a bit to get the ultimate lap time out of it this afternoon,” he said. “I don't really know why so I'll have a look at the data with the engineers and see where we could find some time, but the good thing is that we have definitely improved since yesterday which shows we keep on going in a positive direction all the time. Even after that I think we didn't qualify too badly and are in a reasonable position to fight tomorrow.

“Jarno is strong here and it will be a good battle with him tomorrow. The important thing is to keep the gap to the guys behind us and look ahead, not behind. I think we'll be ok.”

Chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne was pleased with the overnight improvement within the team, and also noted that Trulli was indeed happier with the car than Kovalainen today.

“After yesterday I think that was a pretty good qualifying session,” said Gascoyne. “We finally found the performance we knew was in the car and with both drivers happy with the balance we can be pleased with the job we did overnight and this morning.

“Jarno in particular was much more happy with his car and he could have found a few more tenths on his quickest lap but for the traffic that held him up in the final sector. Heikki was not quite as happy with the balance of his car, but he also put in a good performance, as did the whole team, to get the best out of what we have today and now we look forward to a strong race and a solid two car finish tomorrow.”

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