Lotus F1 Team endured a frustrating qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix with Pastor Maldonado setting the seventeenth fastest time and Romain Grosjean the eighteenth quickest at Suzuka. Pastor will start from the back of the field because of a ten-place grid penalty for using a sixth engine this season.
Romain Grosjean, E22-03. Q: P18, 1:35.984. FP3: P16, 1:36.558
“We thought we were looking quite good from yesterday and this morning, enough to aim for P12 or P13 but I was less happy with the car in qualifying. The wind changed and it might be too sensitive to that, but whatever the reason, we couldn’t get more pace out of the car. Tomorrow could be interesting depending on how much and when it rains, so we’ll see what we can do to benefit from the conditions.”
Pastor Maldonado, E22-02. Q: P17, 1:35.917. FP3: P17, 1:36.617
“For sure we were expecting a better qualifying session but we couldn’t get more out of the car when we needed it most. There is potential for some excitement and some opportunities tomorrow with the weather forecast, but I have the penalty for my engine change which will give me an even bigger challenge. I’ll keep focused for the race and we’ll be trying for the best result possible. Anything can happen.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“We have our work cut out in the race.”
How was qualifying for the team?
It didn’t go well for us. We saw good potential yesterday, however today we haven’t been able to get on top of the car and neither driver was 100% happy on their qualifying laps. Pastor will start from the back of the grid after his engine penalty so we have our work cut out.
All talk is of a wet race, what does that mean in terms of strategy?
A wet race presents a number of challenges as there’s no such thing as a standard wet race. It’s either raining – where the track is getting wetter and the grip levels are decreasing – or if there’s no rain or very little rain, where a racing line can emerge and the grip levels improve. What is certain is that we have run numerous simulations and we will be closely monitoring the skies and the satellite information. Pirelli give us two wet tyres, the intermediate and the full wet so the timing of when to use either of these tyres is crucial to make up places and achieve a good result.