Malaysian Grand Prix Qualifying – Team Lotus
Heikki Kovalainen, Car 20: “That was a great session for us and I’m really pleased with how we’ve performed. After yesterday, I didn’t really know what to expect going into today’s sessions but the guys have done a great job to give me a car that is totally different to yesterday. As soon as I went out on track this morning I could feel there was a huge improvement in every area and we have had no reliability issues at all today so I was able to really push. I’ve enjoyed the whole day and I felt like I was able to get the best out of the car in all the runs. There’s still a bit more to come so I think tomorrow will be a really interesting race for us, particularly when you see how close we are to the midfield, and with the pace we know the car has in race trim.”
Jarno Trulli, Car 21: “Today’s performance is obviously a lot more positive for the whole team. We had no issues with the car in either session and I think we got pretty close to showing what the car can really do. FP3 was very useful and we have also taken some good data from qualifying itself as we tried to get the best out of the car. The plan for tomorrow is to keep consistent and reliable, take our chances when they come and be there at the end. It is a long and very hot race where anything can happen but I think we are ready for it, so let’s see how it goes.”
Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: “That was a much more solid performance from the whole team, particularly compared to Melbourne where we were not able to show the true pace of the car. We have looked strong all day, especially in qualifying, and I think that we have found improvements in a number of areas that have contributed to the step forward today – cooling, engine mapping and the car behaviour in general, I think this is a good result all round. The improvements are very encouraging for us and I think that seeing it here at Sepang is particularly pleasing as it is tough on everyone’s engines, so for us that goes down as a good day.”
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “A very very good day for the team, however we are left feeling a little disappointed because we felt we had a real chance of getting into Q2. We had no problems on the cars at all today which meant we were able to show the true level of performance that we had seen in winter testing, and ultimately we were very close to Q2 on merit. The drivers did a great job and the whole team has worked very hard to turn everything around from yesterday, and from Melbourne.
“In Heikki’s last run he made a couple of small mistakes and we could have been even closer, but, looking at the positives, we are all looking forward to the race tomorrow. Tyre degradation will be very important here – it will be an interesting Sunday for the whole grid and at last we have a car with which we can go and take the fight to the midfield.”
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: “Words cannot express how happy and overjoyed I am right now. To see 18 months of hard work come good with us finishing within a couple of tenths of teams that have been around for a long time, and less than a second away from the midfield pack, that is an amazing achievement. It is made even more satisfying after what has been a pretty hard winter test program, taking on the issues we have been working through and, honestly, not a great start to the season – but this is a great feeling. Both Heikki and Jarno know there’s more to come from the car, and we feel good about the race this weekend. The aim is to keep our reliability and bring two cars home. I am really proud of the team, particularly after such a hard winter, so I take my hat off to every single one of them for keeping up the progress and helping us reach where we are today.”