LAT Photographic

Canadian Grand Prix Qualifying – Lotus Renault GP

It’s gettin’ better (man) – Canadian GP, Saturday 11 June

With the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve evolving, the lap times improved for LRGP’s drivers allowing both of them to qualify in the top 10.

• Nick and Vitaly finished 0.023 sec from each other.

• However, they are carrying a different level of downforce, as Nick’s car was set-up to be competitive if it rains during the race.

• This different set-up is reflected by their respective top speed in sectors 2 and 3: 293.4 vs 289.4 km/h, and 298 vs 293.3 km/h

• Vitaly: new softs x 2 in Q1, new supersofts x 1 in Q2, new super softs x 2 in Q3.

• Nick: new softs x 2 in Q1, new supersofts x 2 in Q2, scrubbed super softs and new super softs in Q3.

Vitaly Petrov, R31-05, P10, 1:14.085
“The track temperatures were much lower than yesterday and it was very difficult to warm-up the tyres properly throughout qualifying. As a result, I was lacking grip out there and I lost a bit of time during my quickest lap. This said, Nick and I got to Q3 and this is a good thing considering the problems we had in Monaco. Looking ahead to tomorrow, it is really difficult to make any prediction. Montreal is almost always a crazy race and the safety car is often a part of it. Also, the weather forecast is looking unsettled so we can expect anything. As a result, tomorrow will be a case of adapting ourselves to the conditions and taking every single opportunity.”

Nick Heidfeld, R31-04, P9, 1.14.062
“I am extremely happy because I think I achieved the maximum I could have done today. We actually drove with more downforce than normal, as we were gambling a bit and hoping for wet conditions tomorrow. We made some minor adjustments with the car today and certainly got what we could have done from it. I’m also happier with how I’m driving on the supersoft tyres; yesterday I was not satisfied but today I really got used to them, and I think that showed through my lap times. Obviously you always want to be higher up than P9 but being in the top ten is satisfying and we will try to improve on this tomorrow by securing a good pace and gaining some places.”

Alan Permane: Chief race engineer: “: “A different set-up for Nick and Vitaly”

Are you satisfied with today’s result?
In a way, we’re pleased to have both cars in the top10 today. It shows that we’ve uncovered the problems we had in Monaco, and that the solutions we’ve brought here are the right ones. However, we can’t be happy with a 5th row. We need to work harder and get more performance out of the car.

Did the lower temperatures have an impact on our performance today?
It’s difficult to say, really. However, it’s true to think that the weather conditions could play a big role in tomorrow’s race. This is the reason why we have chosen two different set-ups. Even if their lap times were very close today, Nick and Vitaly are carrying different levels of downforce. As you know, when it rains, we’re only allowed to change the cooling of the cars. Nick will carry more downforce than Vitaly tomorrow and, depending on the weather, this could be a very strong position to be in.

Did the drivers extract the maximum from their cars today?
I think so. Their cars are not identical but they did a good job and could play on different strategies tomorrow.