Team Lotus enjoyed a good qualifying session in Abu Dhabi today as Heikki Kovalainen broke the 103-second barrier on his best flying lap and Jarno Trulli recovered from a difficult final practice session to qualify alongside his team-mate.
“I am really pleased with that performance today,” said Kovalainen. “We definitely got as much performance as we could out of the car and to break into the 1.42s is very satisfying. I pretty much nailed the quick lap and I think we know that where we are on race pace gives us another chance of a strong finish tomorrow.
“I'm also looking forward to Brazil where we have an update to the rear wing coming – that should give us a better chance of using the DRS more effectively around the whole lap in qualifying, helping us get much closer to our race pace on Saturday afternoons, so another quick lap like that in Brazil with the update would be a great way to finish the qualifying sessions this season.”
Trulli failed to set a time during FP3 this morning, and was nearly a second off the pace of his team-mate. However, the Italian was happy to still be comfortable ahead of the Virgin Racing and HRT drivers.
“It's obviously been a tricky Saturday for me, having had to sit out FP3 when we found an issue with the gearbox that couldn't be fixed in time for me to run in that session,” he said. “Despite that, the team worked well to fix the problem and gave me the chance to get out in qualifying without incurring any penalties, so putting together a lap that comfortably keeps me ahead of the guys behind is, in the circumstances, pretty good.”
Chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne was also pleased with how Team Lotus had performed today. “A reasonably satisfying qualifying session for us,” he said in his evaluation. “Obviously Jarno had some ground to make up after losing this morning's session with a gearbox issue that we were able to fix in time for qualifying. Heikki put in another very good Q1 and extracted as much performance as he could out of the car, so they both did well today.
“We put both cars on two runs in the session, first on the medium compounds and then on the softs, and we finised the session closer to the pack ahead than we have all season, so that points towards another strong Sunday for us. The key now is to maintain the pace we have shown since Singapore and make sure we bring both cars to the chequered flag without any problems.”