Team Lotus had what Mike Gascoyne described as ‘a strong end to qualifying for this season’ in Brazil today as Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli took their somewhat traditional grid slots of nineteenth and twentieth respectively.
“That was a strong end to qualifying for this season,” said Gascoyne, the Team Lotus chief technical officer. “This morning we were having some issues getting the pace out of the soft tyres but this afternoon we turned that around and Heikki in particular got everything he could out of the car. Jarno was a little less happy with the balance but for me this is a good way to finish qualifying this year.
“Throughout the second half of the season we have moved closer to the group in front and that was particularly evident today, so the aim for tomorrow is clear – have a strong race and give ourselves a successful last race of 2011.”
As Gascoyne said, Kovalainen was the happier of the two drivers after today’s qualifying session. “That is a great way to end qualifying for the season, one of the really good laps,” said the Finn. “I've had a lot of good sessions this year but that really stands out as one of the best. Jarno has been strong here all weekend and I was just behind him after the first runs so I had to really pull out everything to beat him.
“We made a couple of adjustments to the tyres and it paid off with that final lap with seconds left on the clock. We've also finished here closer to the opposition than we have all season, and even though it's a shorter lap here it's still a very good sign that we've found quite a bit of time with the new rear wing and I think that will help us again tomorrow. The forecast looks like rain and that always makes it interesting around here, so I think whatever happens it'll be a good Sunday, and hopefully a great way to end the season.”
Trulli was not that upset with his qualifying, and could draw positives from the session. “I'm reasonably pleased with how it went today,” stated the Italian. “The second set of tyres weren't as good as the first and even though I improved my time I still couldn't really push – I've had a pretty good weekend so far but still haven't found a balance I'm really happy with, but the main thing is we've increased the gap to the cars behind us and moved closer to the teams directly ahead.”