Lotus: Kovalainen beats the Saubers

2011 Korean GP team review

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Fourteenth wasn’t the best result of the year for Lotus but Kovalainen beat both Saubers.

Heikki KovalainenJarno Trulli
Qualifying position1920
Qualifying time comparison (Q1)1’40.522 (-0.579)1’41.101
Race position1417
Pit stops22

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


Heikki Kovalainen118.37110.32108.894108.89107.828107.937108.053107.555107.373106.886106.871107.704110.981124.55106.203120.492136.356110.484148.781150.537107.591106.568106.608107.369105.554105.167105.295105.261104.888105.657105.127105.009104.478104.634106.492106.338105.004108.914123.533103.506104.046103.388103.002102.803102.81102.71102.997102.643102.552103.011104.352102.456102.696102.847
Jarno Trulli121.264110.371108.454108.122107.963107.942107.551107.445107.306107.242107.406113.182126.087108.89107.345122.988135.548111.429139.867149.01107.81106.752106.481107.311105.852105.591106.029106.344105.725105.979105.503107.183105.695105.264105.182111.362125.826106.16104.375103.949103.912103.703106.515103.749103.345103.009104.342107.475106.65103.05103.66104.885105.2106.38

Heikki Kovalainen

Start, Korea, 2011
Start tyreSuper soft
Pit stop 1Soft 21.951s
Pit stop 2Soft 22.669s

Kovalainen was thrilled with his qualifying effort, calling it: “Probably my best qualifying lap of the season.

“Next to Hungary, I think I got as much as I possibly could out of the car and nailed every sector, so it’s a good feeling to know when you’ve wrung as much as you can from a single lap.”

He took to the run-off at the first corner and returned to the track in 15th place at turn two. But he was relegated to his usual 19th place by lap four as the likes of Bruno Senna and Sergio Perez easily passed him.

After the restart he stayed close enough to the Saubers to be able to capitalise when they couldn’t make their tyres last through the last stint. Kamui Kobayashi emerged from the pits behind him on lap 42 but made little impression on Kovalainen’s eight-second lead.

A late stop for Perez also dropped him behind the Lotus driver, who finished 14th. He closed rapidly on Bruno Senna over the final laps, crossing the line 1.9s behind the Renault having been 14s away seven laps earlier.

Kovalainen hailed the result as “our strongest ever race”.

Heikki Kovalainen 2011 form guide

Jarno Trulli

Start tyreSuper soft
Pit stop 1Soft 22.441s
Pit stop 2Soft 22.851s

Trulli qualified behind Kovalainen as usual. He was passed by the Virgins at the start but re-took them both by lap three.

He reckoned he could have joined his team mate in finishing in front of the Saubers but for the blue flags costing him time.

Jarno Trulli 2011 form guide

2011 Korean Grand Prix

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    Image © Team Lotus

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    15 comments on “Lotus: Kovalainen beats the Saubers”

    1. Impressive race pace from Kovalainen. He was in the high 1m42s for most of the last stint, while the Hamilton group was doing low 1m41s, and Alonso high 1m40s while catching up to them.

      1. When looking at the chart it seems Trulli was pretty much as fast as Kovalainen but lost time at many laps (probably the blue flags he mentioned). I don’t think he has become too slow, he just has to find his qualifying edge back .. if he doesn’t we’ll probably see him retire not long from now.

    2. Pretty strong performance indeed, especially their race pace.

    3. “A late for Perez” Stop?

      1. Thanks, changed it.

    4. I think they deserve more credit, Heikki especially for what they have done compared to HRT and Virgin.

      1. I agree, the Lotus cars have been looking pretty good in these last 3 races with a good race-pace. Sure, it has helped that theres been 3 saftey cars in the last 3 races which have kept cars together, but they seem closer to the midfield then they’ve ever been. Didnt they bring a significant upgrade at Singapore? Could help explain it.

        Bu well done to them

    5. I’m surprised Trulli didn’t mention his power steering in his post race comments…

    6. I’ve always liked Kovalainen, and he seems to be genuinely happy at Lotus. Hopefully we’ll see them fighting for points occasionally next season.

      1. I think Kovalianen actually wants to help develop the team as a team but Trulli does tend to moan about the team a lot and only in my opinion drives there as there is no where else for him, and as he seems to be struggling with many things like the power steering, next season should really be his last as he does not really do much as he is never racing head to head with Kovalianen but more with the Virgins.

    7. Nice job this weekend. For me, Lotus is the new Minardi. It’s hard not to pull for them. They have outpaced the other startups by a good margin. They also do a great job at PR with twitter and other social media. I hope they get a point soon.

    8. I think it is just a shame that people like Eddie Jordan always look at the negatives and not point out some of the good things that they have done instead.

    9. People saying “Qualy isn’t exciting enough”.

      Imagine how exciting it’ll be next year when the chances of someone falling in Q1 raises from 1 to 3, as Lotus will be fighting head to head with the lower midfielders!

    10. Great effort from Kovalainen to capitalise on the disaster that Sauber had. A pity they couldn’t finish on the lead lap again but definite progress this weekend.

    11. The more days go the more impressive this team is becoming,I am proud of this team given the fact that they haven’t scored any points still but they will soon may be in 2012.

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