Korean Grand Prix Qualifying – Lotus Renault GP
Fade In-Out – Korean GP, Saturday 15 October 2011
It was a day of contrasting fortunes for LRGP, with Vitaly cracking the top 10 to qualify in P8 and Bruno coming home in P15.
• Drivers were able to experience this weekend’s two chosen tyre compounds for the first time in FP3 this morning; the yellow-marked soft tyre (prime) and red-marked super soft (option)
• During FP3, Bruno’s flirtation with the side wall resulted in a return to the garage where a replacement front wing was installed. During the session, Vitaly achieved a time of 1min 39.612secs, whilst Bruno mustered a best time of 1min 40.451secs.
• During Q2 in this afternoon’s qualifying session, Bruno was unable to improve on a time of 1min 38.791secs, which left him in P15
• Vitaly led the way for the team, clocking-in with a lap of 1min 38.124secs on his first run in Q3. The Russian did two runs in Q3, however he did not complete a timed lap during his second run; a minor mistake meant anything beyond P8 was unachievable.
• Bruno Q1: soft, super soft; Q2: super soft, super soft
• Vitaly Q1: soft, super soft; Q2: super soft, super soft; Q3: super soft, super soft
Bruno Senna, P15, R31-04, 1:38.791
“It’s been a bit of a tough weekend so far and today didn’t go quite to plan. It’s my first poor qualifying performance of the year and I hope it’s the last! These things happen – sometimes you just don’t get everything you need out of the car at the vital time. Vitaly did a great job so we’ve seen that the car is consistent and has strong potential for the race. The car was fine; I probably didn’t have sufficient mileage to push when it mattered on my qualifying run. I’m just off Vitaly’s time in a few corners and that’s all it takes to make the difference between Q2 and Q3. It’s not the ideal way to celebrate my birthday, but tomorrow should be a better day.”
Vitaly Petrov, P8, R31-06, 1:38.124
“I was pleased with today’s efforts. Eighth position is something to be proud of, and it gives me a strong chance to make my presence known towards the top end of the grid tomorrow. I was quite surprised with how enthusiastic we were in venturing out again in Q3, but I was unable to complete a second timed lap anyway. This track is quite smooth, and today it offered a lot of grip with these tyres. As a team we did a fantastic job, and the main thing is we have no mechanical problems heading into tomorrow.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
Contrasting fortunes for the drivers today – are you generally pleased with the end result?
Yes, however it would have been nice to see both cars competing in Q3. We will have a look at why Bruno was lacking in pace, but Vitaly pulled a strong result out of the bag. He completed an excellent lap in Q2 on scrub tyres to ensure he secured his place in Q3, so it is all looking quite promising for tomorrow. I’m sure we can have a good battle with the other teams to ensure we score some good points.
Why do you think Bruno struggled to match Vitaly’s pace today?
He was fine in the first sector but struggled a little in the middle sector, which was unusual for him. We will have to look through things tonight to see where this can be improved upon, and help give him the best possible chance to salvage a good result tomorrow.
Today was the first chance to become acquainted with the Pirelli soft and super soft tyres here – what have you noticed?
The tyres are actually behaving pretty well. As expected, the super soft was quicker than the soft but the durability of the super soft looked particularly good. Certainly on the light fuel loads we were running today the degradation was almost non-existent; we were able to go out on scrubbed tyres and obtain almost the same lap times that we could on new tyres. This will be somewhat different in the race with the full tanks, but we do not expect it to pose huge problems. It will be a challenge to arrive upon the right strategy, but the tyres certainly look durable enough to race here.