Lotus: Gap to midfield widens in Valencia

2011 European GP team review

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Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Valencia, 2011

Lotus seemed to slip back to their 2010 level of performance in Valencia.

Team principal Tony Fernandes said: “It is obviously a big challenge for us to find the 0.5 seconds that will propel us towards the midfield teams, but we have the right elements in place to help us do that.”

But the data from the race weekend shows the gap is greater than that. Kovalainen was 1.4 seconds slower than Jaime Alguersuari’s Toro Rosso in qualifying, and finished 48 seconds behind Pastor Maldonado’s Williams after 57 laps.

Heikki KovalainenJarno Trulli
Qualifying position1920
Qualifying time comparison (Q1)1’41.664 (-0.57)1’42.234
Race position1920
Pit stops32

Lotus drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):


Heikki Kovalainen123.13110.949109.41109.118109.056108.444108.437108.245107.947108.18108.295108.669109.658126.59115.542107.454107.744108.189107.163106.949106.973106.833107.096107.101107.117125.009112.102108.254108.144106.019105.929105.847105.829106.033107.039106.76107.688106.855106.709107.157107.673124.335112.248105.055106.752105.699105.681106.86105.976105.382105.257106.717105.797105.174109.606
Jarno Trulli123.82110.893110.276108.997108.266108.536108.323108.354108.062108.005108.372109.059109.328108.97109.096109.806109.795126.791114.399107.856107.229106.607106.871106.98110.239107.04106.419106.208106.379111.401106.894106.697107.856126.035113.905107.425107.116106.92106.985107.87106.99106.929107.23106.949108.328109.125108.497111.085115.954108.435111.12109.049107.482108.778109.785

Heikki Kovalainen

After two patchy races Kovalainen was back to his early-season form. He out-qualified Trulli for the seventh time out of eight and finished almost half a minute ahead of his team mate.

Lotus split strategies between the two cars as Mike Gascoyne explained: “We had considered two stops on both cars but when we saw higher degradation levels on Heikki’s car we put him onto three and kept Jarno on two to give both of them a chance to fight.

“Jarno nearly passed Heikki in the final stops but Heikki’s fresh rubber gave him the chance to edge ahead and the key goal today was to make sure they both finished, so I am pleased we achieved that.”

Heikki Kovalainen 2011 form guide

Jarno Trulli

Trulli declared himself happy with the progress the team made with his persistent power steering problem after practice, saying he was “pretty pleased with what we found on the second option.”

Was frustrated by traffic in qualifying and spun at the last corner at the end of Q3.

Had a near-miss with Fernando Alonso during the race, almost squeezing his former team mate into the barrier while being lapped.

Karun Chandhok, Lotus, Valencia, 2011

Karun Chandhok

Drove Jarno Trulli’s car in first practice but failed to set a time after suffering a gearbox problem on his second lap.

Jarno Trulli 2011 form guide

2011 European Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    8 comments on “Lotus: Gap to midfield widens in Valencia”

    1. Seems that the lack of KERS is hurting them…

      1. That is the least of their worries.

      2. IIRC Toro Rosso doesn’t have it.

        1. STR do have the Ferrari KERS this year Fixy. And it seems to work fine, as we have not heard of any big problems with it all year.

    2. Lotus will have to wait until next year or maybe even 2013 before they can seriously challenge the mid field teams. Until then Tony Fernandes should just keep his mouth shut, and make sure the team works hard.

    3. Trulli seemed to slow quite much when he was getting lapped by looking at that chart. It could be seen on TV as well, at one point he almost caused accident with Alonso in that final sector.

      Basically that is partly caused by current blue flag rule. Had Trulli not slowed there and let the cars behind him in the final corner or start/finish straight he would probably have been penalized for ignoring blue flags – as there are quite many marshal spots between turns 20 and 25 – flat out section with many small kinks.

    4. It’s not going particularly well for Chandhok, is it?

      I had higher hopes for Lotus this year, pretty uneventful so far!

    5. Very uneventful yeah. Did get excited very temporarily by Kovaleinen in qualifying though when I thought he might escape Q1. Alas.

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