Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli finished the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in seventeenth and eighteenth places today in a race Team Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne described as ‘solid’.
“A solid race for us and good to see both cars across the finish line with no problems all afternoon,” was the summary from Gascoyne, who is hoping for more of the same at the final race of the season in two weeks time.
“We opted for the same strategy on both cars, running the first two stints on the soft tyres and switching to the mediums at the end and it worked out how we had planned it would,” he explained. “Jarno lost some time at the start but he pulled some of that back with a strong middle stint but was then hit by the number of blue flags that he had to slow down for.
“At the end of the race Heikki was once again chasing down the Renault but just was not able to get past him with the laps he had left. Now we move on to the last race of the season in Brazil where we will be focusing on the season's number on[e] goal – securing tenth place and giving ourselves the platform we need to keep building for the future.”
Kovalainen said that the race was actually pretty simple from his perspective, and is also hoping for more of the same in Brazil: “Another pretty good start and from there the whole race was straightforward,” commented the Finn. “I didn't have any issues for the whole race, the pitstops were good and the strategy worked out exactly was we'd planned, so across the whole weekend this has been another strong event for us.
“What seems to be happening is that in the first couple of stints, as the race sort of settles down, we are able to keep up with the cars ahead, and that's obviously a sign of how we have progressed, and that's again what happened here. When we went onto the primes for the last stint the pace obviously dropped a bit but we had another strong push to the end, with Senna losing time on his final set of tyres, and that points to us being able to fight much more closely next year.
“For now we have one race left, so we'll shift the focus now to Brazil and make sure we finish the season as strongly as we have been doing since Singapore.”
As Gascoyne mentioned, Trulli had a few problems off the start line but, as the Italian revealed, he was also been suffering a bit inside the car today. “I lost a few places at the start with clutch slip, but within a few laps I had got passed the cars we needed to fight and then focused on making sure I got the car to the end of the race,” he said. “The second stint was pretty strong, but then on the last stint on the hard tyres I was struggling to get them up to temperature so I couldn't really push any more.
“This has been a bit of a tough weekend. I came here with a bit of a fever and then losing time in FP3 obviously set me back as well, but now I want to make sure I have as good a race as possible in Brazil and help the team secure tenth place.”