Lotus: Beating a Renault “sweet” for Fernandes

2011 Singapore GP team review

Posted on

| Written by

Lotus’s eagerness to keep Heikki Kovalainen in front of Renault’s Vitaly Petrov almost ended in disaster for Sebastian Vettel.

Heikki KovalainenJarno Trulli
Qualifying position1920
Qualifying time comparison (Q1)1’50.948 (-0.064)1’51.012
Race position16
Pit stops33

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


Heikki Kovalainen134.072121.384119.869119.173119.45119.309119.521119.013119.26119.758127.813141.726117.979117.688117.883123.19118.564117.436117.692118.194117.782120.481118.657119.034120.282128.166139.239122.039142.658123.216160.809160.899121.164123.24122.375118.51118.645117.272118.112116.919116.828117.374117.525118.172116.917117.444128.5143.111121.994119.956115.974115.705115.607116.98114.807114.063118.728116.593116.226
Jarno Trulli132.056120.737119.829119.486119.224119.219119.151119.222118.904119.888120.464123.079120.966121.42121.776132.038141.211119.563168.089145.07117.677129.735120.424122.121117.126117.315125.544141.736155.568168.299161.685121.19120.071117.866126.199119.64123.356117.967117.859118.449121.222118.332118.208126.13144.087120.829121.216

Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Singapore, 2011
Start tyreSuper soft
Pit stop 1Soft 32.202s
Pit stop 2Soft 31.621s
Pit stop 3Soft 31.207s

Kovalainen began this year’s Singapore Grand Prix the way he ended the last one – with a fire. His brakes burst into flames during the first practice session.

Kovalainen said: “The fire this time was much smaller than last year, and with brakes at the temperatures they run it’s not uncommon to see them catch like that, but it wasn’t a major issue at all.”

It didn’t put him off his stride and he duly out-qualified Trulli for the 12th time this year.

He slipped behind Trulli at the start. But an early pit stop allowed him to jump past Vitaly Petrov – Lotus taking advantage of Petrov being stuck behind Trulli.

Kovalainen made his second pit stop before the safety car which allowed him to keep the Renault behind. The pair came in again together for a final stop on lap 47.

This also happened to be while Vettel was making his last pit stop, and Lotus waved Kovalainen out as the Red Bull was passing them. The pair avoided contact, but the stewards fined Lotus for the early release.

Kovalainen caught Jerome d’Ambrosio and spent an intense couple of laps trying to pass the Virgin while under pressure from Petrov. He eventually broke free to finish 16th.

That may be three places lower than the team’s best result this year, but Tony Fernandes described Kovalainen beating Petrov as “sweet” afterwards.

Heikki Kovalainen 2011 form guide

Jarno Trulli

Start tyreSuper soft
Pit stop 1Soft 31.048s
Pit stop 2Soft 33.317s
Pit stop 3Soft 31.168s

Trulli made a great start and ran in front of both Renaults and Jaime Alguersuari in the opening laps.

Nor were any of them able to find a way past before Trulli made his first pit stop on lap 16. But he was back in three laps later with a puncture after being hit by Alguersuari.

He dropped out of the race late on with gearbox problems – the eighth retirement from a race with a technical problem for a Lotus this year.

Jarno Trulli 2011 form guide

2011 Singapore Grand Prix

    Browse all 2011 Singapore Grand Prix articles

    Image © Team Lotus

    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

    Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

    13 comments on “Lotus: Beating a Renault “sweet” for Fernandes”

    1. Is this a sign of progress from Lotus that Kovalainen finished in front of the Renault Renault Renault of Petrov… or just a sign that Petrov and Senna struggled throughout the entire weekend?

      Either way I’m please, plus di Resta had a great race too!

      1. Looks to me like it was a particularly bad weekend for Renault. More on that in their team review shortly.

      2. I strongly believe it would be later and nature of the track.

    2. Tony : “Now finally we won, we will give you Lotus name” :P

    3. Reliability still remains one of their biggest weaknesses. I hadn’t realised before just how many technical retirements Trulli has had, probably because earlier in the year he was showing so little that no one missed him when he had them.

      But both Trulli and Kovalianen have had their share of trouble, usually related to hydraulics and/or the gearbox. Not sure their Red Bull sourced box is just not a big improvement on the previous one, or whether it is rather their lack of expertise handling it well enough?

    4. I didn’t watch the race so I’m still trying to piece it all together… was Trulli on track to score a point?

        1. Oh I see, good start… then fell away… then DNF.

    5. Well done heikki. What a superb race. Really really happy. Great promise. Beating petrov was sweet

      Tony Fernandes

      Still really slow though.

      1. They beat them because Renault was slow, not because they were fast, so little to be proud of.

    6. themagicofspeed (@)
      26th September 2011, 16:46

      It’s sad whats happened to Renault. When i think of them now, i think of a skeleton, slowly turning to dust. There seems to be very little left of the slick machine that was so effective in 2005/06, even if a lot of that was due to the combination of Alonso + Pat Symonds, you cant win a championship based on that alone, otherwise Schumi + Brawn would be pasting every race.

      Underinvestment + Crashgate (and the resulting loss of major sponsors, and ultimately, Renault’s full works efforts & money) + Eric Boullier and his ‘Genii Capital’ cronies, have killed this team.

      I just dont get a good vibe from Boullier; he has no background in motorsport that i know of he is just there to cane the staff’s collective backside and squeeze out as much £ss as he can.

    7. Great result for Heiki. They really need to get on top of the reliability. They can’t challenge for points yet but they need to be a in a position to be able to do so.

    8. That was poor work from Lotus to release Heikki Kovalainen in the path of Vettel they shouldn’t have made this mistake as for now they have gained enough experience to know that.

    Comments are closed.