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 Kovalainen||Jarno Trulli|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q1)||1’41.664 (-0.57)||1’42.234|
Lotus drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
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.”
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.
Drove Jarno Trulli’s car in first practice but failed to set a time after suffering a gearbox problem on his second lap.
2011 European Grand Prix
Images © Team Lotus