Lotus team boss Eric Boullier says that this is one of the most horrible qualifying sessions of 2012 F1. And he added that Lotus target build a very nice car, balanced and very easy to exploit for the driver.
The Lotus drivers Grosjean will start seventh on the grid and his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen done 12th on the grid.
“This is one of the worst qualifying sessions we have had since the beginning of the year,” said Boullier.
“Our aim from the beginning of the season was to have a car that was easily balanced and very easy to exploit for the driver, and this weekend we never put the right balance with the right level of grip together.
“That is why the driver was trying to get the best of the car, but doing small mistakes – and could not put a proper lap together. And when you have time differences less than a tenth it costs a lot of positions.”
“With the parc ferme system you focus on the race set-up and our team did build a very nice car, which is saving the tyres, easy to drive most of the time and that is clearly a clever target to achieve,” he added.
“But it is true as well that when we do not have the right temperature we are struggling in the race because obviously we need to anticipate [weather]. If you want to qualify nicely, and you have different weather conditions Saturday and Sunday, that is why it is hard to handle a complete weekend.”
Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane says that Lotus had a problem with the hydraulics on Raikkonen’s car and he is no doubt that we’ll resolve Kimi’s issue for Race.
“We had a problem with the hydraulics on Kimi’s car in the session which meant the differential was not working properly, so he did a good job to qualify where he did. Romain went through to the final qualifying session comfortably and then did a really good first timed lap in that session on scrubbed tyres. The new tyres didn’t give him the grip and confidence he expected and his lap on these wasn’t any faster. It’s unusual that we would have a warm-up issue here in these conditions, but we’ll be looking at everything to understand what happened.
“The track was very dirty after yesterday’s rain so we saw a lot of evolution today, though it wasn’t particularly tricky to predict. Having said that we’ve had a little bit more trouble than usual setting the cars up; just finding the right balance with the heavy breaking here, making it comfortable enough into the corner and not having too much understeer mid-corner. Certainly with Romain it’s fair to say that he’s not as comfortable as he normally is with his car.
“I have no doubt that we’ll resolve Kimi’s issue for tomorrow. We can see the symptoms clearly on the data and we recognised it very early on. We informed Kimi that there was a problem during qualifying. It wasn’t something we could easily remedy during the session but I’m very confident that we’ll find the problem overnight and fix it.
“In terms of strategy we’ll be assessing different options. Tyre degradation is very low here, so we could see a few teams attempt a one stop race. Overtaking is very much possible here with the long straights and the DRS; it won’t be easy by any means but certainly simpler than in Monaco.”
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