Traffic played a big part in Lotus Racing’s Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying session with both Jarno Trulli and, in particular, Heikki Kovalainen being unable to extract the maximum times out of their cars in the damp conditions. Jarno Trulli starts tomorrow’s race in 20th place with Heikki Kovalainen just behind in 21st.
Jarno Trulli (Chassis T127-02) FP3: 18 laps, best time 1.22.326, 18th / QUALIFYING: 20th, 1.22.250, 14 laps “There was a lot of traffic out there because of the weather which meant I couldn’t really put together my best lap. At the end I managed to get a decent time in but it felt like it was wetter than at the start of the session and obviously that meant I couldn’t get ahead of Timo. Despite that the car has felt good all weekend in the wet and the dry conditions, and I think tomorrow we’ll be strong. We kept a dry setup on the car today and that should put us in a good position for the race.”
Heikki Kovalainen (Chassis T127-03) FP3: 20 laps, best time 1.22.874, 20th / QUALIFYING: 21st, 1.22.378, 14 laps “That was a disappointing session for me. I was held up by traffic each time I went for a quick run and definitely didn’t get the most out of the car, but I think we’ll be ok tomorrow. It’s a short track here and it’s pretty normal that traffic plays its part in qualifying but yesterday we worked hard on making sure we have a good setup for the race and it will be good to get back in the car tomorrow and show what we can do.”
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “A fascinating qualifying session but slightly disappointing for us. Both drivers lost their quickest laps to traffic and Heikki in particular was held up by Heidfeld on a couple of occasions. However, with the dry forecast for tomorrow and the performance of our car in dry conditions we will look to have a strong race and get both cars home across the finish line.”
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: “Firstly I want to say congratulations to Nico for such an outstanding performance today. That is the first Williams pole since 2005 and the very first time AirAsia can celebrate a pole position – the whole team deserves every plaudit coming their way today and I am very proud to be part of the Williams dream. For Lotus Racing it was a decent job today from both Jarno and Heikki who were obviously held up by the traffic. It is still very pleasing that we keep taking the fight to our direct competitors even though we have been focusing on next year’s car since back in July.
“It is also satisfying to see that all of the off-track attention that is being paid to the team has not distracted any of us from what is important. I will be making an official statement about the off-track situation in due course but for now we are focusing on being a professional race team that is gaining more experience with every lap and turning that into long-term success.”