Friday, 17 April 2015

Knocking on the door of the top ten

(Lotus F1 Team)

The Lotus F1 Team headed into today’s opening track action at the Bahrain International Circuit having scored their first points of the season courtesy of Romain Grosjean last time out in China. 

In Free Practice One the Enstone outfit’s test driver Jolyon Palmer was behind the wheel of the E23 Hybrid. The GP2 champion completed 31 laps ending the session in fourteenth place with a fastest time of 1m 39.283s. Speaking following his session, the Englishman stated:

It was a great session for me and it felt far smoother than last time out. It was great to be back in the car so soon after Shanghai as I’ve been able to maintain a good momentum. I set my quickest time quite early in the session, so I didn’t stay as high up the order with the long runs later in the session, but I was happy with my progress. The car felt improved since China, with similar characteristics enabling me to feel comfortable and push. I’m happy with today’s work.

In the opening session this morning, Pastor Maldonado completed 23 laps and ended the session in 12th place with a fastest time of 1m 38.842s. In the afternoon, the Venezuelan completed 34 laps and ended the session in seventh place with a fastest time of 1m 35.474s. Speaking afterwards Maldonado stated:

I was very happy with the car in the hot conditions of the first session and also in the cooler, later session too. This is very positive as we didn’t have to spend too much time working on refining the set-up for the different track temperature but could work on our usual tyre evaluations. The track condition was good, even at the start of FP1 so we were able to have a productive day. I think we have good potential here this weekend.

Romain Grosjean sat out the opening session this morning to allow Jolyon Palmer to have some time in the car. In the afternoon session Grosjean was back in the car, the Frenchman completed 31 laps and set a fastest time of 1m 36.334s which was good enough for 13th place. Speaking following his afternoon in the E23 Grosjean commented saying:

It was a frustrating session for me as I couldn’t get the car exactly how I wanted it, but we can see from Pastor’s lap time that the pace is there once we get the set-up working. The circuit is always great to drive and we run qualifying and the race in similar conditions to those we saw in FP2 today, so we really need to get the car where we want it overnight.

The Lotus F1 Team’s Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane stated:

Friday in Bahrain is a bit of an usual day now as we run FP1 in hot daytime conditions, then FP2 is in much cooler conditions similar to those of the race and qualifying. This gives us more of a challenge for set-up as work done in FP1 isn’t as relevant to later, but we are well versed in these situations. Once more, we had three drivers in the car today, each of which delivered as we’d expect. Jolyon drove very well in his second session in the car and had more pace than his lap time showed due to small technical issue on his fastest lap. Pastor had a very strong day and was happy with his car throughout both sessions. We still have some work to get Romain’s car where we want it, but we have a clear direction of what to do.

© Ben Johnston 2015

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