Both Lotus F1 Team drivers finished inside the top ten for the first time since the Canadian Grand Prix during qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps for the Belgian Grand Prix, with Romain Grosjean fourth and Pastor Maldonado eighth.
Grosjean however will start ninth as a result of a penalty incurred by a gearbox change earlier in the weekend, which at the same time promotes Maldonado to seventh.
Grosjean admitted he was not expecting to have such a strong showing during the session, with fourth a surprise to the Frenchman. Despite starting ninth, he feels he should be able to have a good race on Sunday, especially as traditionally Lotus have stronger Sunday’s than they do on Saturdays so far this season.
“Today’s result is more than we had expected!” exclaimed Grosjean. “I gave everything that I had in the car for that last lap, I pushed hard from the beginning to the end.
“Being P4 is a really good effort. It is just so fast here. Going through Eau Rouge at 300kph, it feels like being a kid at Christmas. Every time you drive through it you have a smile on your face, it is so nice driving on this circuit.
“We will start from P9 tomorrow with the grid penalty and we will see what we can achieve from there. We have been better in race pace than qualifying pace so with a good set-up and hopefully some nice overtaking manoeuvres we can score some good points on Sunday.”
Team-mate Maldonado also qualified inside the top ten, but was unable to match Grosjean’s pace, although the Venezuelan will start ahead of the Frenchman due to Grosjean’s penalty. He also feels he is well-placed to have a good result during Sunday’s Grand Prix.
“At the start of the weekend we didn’t have the best pace so the team has done a really fantastic job to get on top of the car and give me and Romain something really strong to use for qualifying, which is thanks to everyone’s hard work,” said Maldonado.
“I think we will be competitive tomorrow and with the right strategy we should be able to achieve something pretty good.”