Round two of the 2014 F1® season got underway yesterday, and it was a bag of mixed fortunes for the Lotus F1® Team. Starting in P15 and P16, Lotus F1® Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado made good progress off the grid until a loss of power for Pastor during the first lap, cut short the Venezuelan’s race who took the tough decision to safeguard his engine and retire.
Romain however kept the black and gold flag flying high and advanced quickly, accelerating two places and sliding into P13 during the fourth lap. He then maintained his pace, overtaking Caterham’s Kobayashi to claim P12 during lap 32. Continuing his steady fight forwards and providing valuable data for the team, he further ascended into P11 and was forced to furiously defend his place in the last laps of the race thanks to a spirited challenge from teammate of old, Kimi Räikkönen. The Räikkönen charge did not break Romain’s lock down and he successfully crossed the line, his P11 finish in hand.
Romain Grosjean P11 E22-03 “Eleventh place is good for all the guys at Enstone and at the track, and it’s good for me too. Finishing the race was our first objective and then we wanted to see where we were with our car. It’s not perfect yet but it’s good to be where we are at this stage. I had a big loss of downforce around eight laps to the end especially in the rear of the car which made things difficult, especially when I had to defend. Without that issue, I’m sure we could have finished higher. It’s good to be back and close to the points so it’s a positive for all of us. It was a good battle at the end. I kept remembering our past battles to make sure Kimi couldn’t go through!”
Pastor Maldonado DNF E22-01 “After the start we were losing a lot of power so we’ll have to investigate later to see what the issue is and analyse the data. This problem meant I had to retire in order to protect the engine. Despite that, this weekend has been clearly a step forwards. Since Saturday, we’ve been able to run far more with the car and Romain was able to finish the race. Today obviously was not so good for me, but we’re not the only ones with issues so early in the season. This is all related to all the complex packages in the car, but we have learnt a lot this weekend and will make progress for the next.”
Frederico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal: “Today Romain drove a great race to be in with a shout of points and finish the team’s first race of 2014. That he was able to defend his position for the last eight laps despite his rear diffuser not working properly shows his determination. This determination is shared by the entire team as we now look to extract more performance from the E22. Pastor was very unfortunate with an issue which could have damaged his engine. We needed to retire him so that we can ensure better performance later in the year. We head to Bahrain as determined as ever to find more improvements in performance and reliability.”
The next round of the competition takes place at the Sakhir Circuit in Bahrain on the 6th April.