Pastor Maldonado qualified a season-best eleventh and will start from tenth place on the grid for tomorrow’s United States Grand Prix. Pastor enjoyed improved pace from his E22 all day at the Circuit of the Americas and was unlucky not to make it into the top ten qualifying session. He moves forward an extra position because of a grid penalty for Jenson Button. In contrast, Romain Grosjean endured his second-worst starting position with eighteenth after struggling to find grip and balance in the qualifying session.
Romain Grosjean, E22-03. Q: P18, 1:39.679. FP3: P13, 1:39.561
“The car was good this morning, I was enjoying driving it and I even said it was the best car I’ve driven for a while! Unfortunately, it didn’t feel the same when I went out for qualifying and it was a real struggle to find any pace – which we clearly didn’t find, given our qualifying position. On the plus side, my car worked well this morning, as did Pastor’s in qualifying, so there’s still potential in what will be a long race, with a few pit stops to help shake up the order.”
Pastor Maldonado, E22-02. Q:11, Grid:10, 1:38.467. FP3: P12, 1:39.448
“The car feels more solid and together than it has for the last few races which meant I was able to push more than usual. We know we work better in the faster corners – just as we saw in Barcelona – and I think there is still more pace in the car. On my Q2 lap I made a small mistake in the second to last corner which would have been worth another tenth and then we’d have been in Q3. We’re well placed for tomorrow; we need to have a good strategy, stay relaxed and calm and then let’s fight for the points. I think we have a great chance to score and that will be the main focus.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“We’re reasonably happy.”
How was qualifying for the team?
We can be reasonably happy with today’s qualifying session. It’s a shame for Pastor to miss out on Q3 as he definitely had the pace to get there. Nonetheless, after our recent performances we can be content with qualifying eleventh and we’ll actually start in P10 with Jenson’s penalty. Starting tenth with a fresh set of tyres means we can certainly fight for points from there. In contrast, Romain had a troubled session; he felt the car was very different than in practice this morning and had a lot of problems with front tyres locking. We’ll be taking a good look at that to try and solve the issue as things were working really well for him in FP3.
What are the strategy considerations for the race?
Overall, it’s a good step up in performance for us this weekend. For the race, we can expect two to three stops which should make for quite an exciting race with everyone’s different strategies coming into play. Certainly, we’re seeing better tyre performance for ourselves than in Sochi where we really struggled.