British Grand Prix disaster for Team Lotus
It was a short and disastrous British Grand Prix for Hingham's Team Lotus as the Norfolk marque fluffed their lines within the opening 10 laps at their home race.
Heikki Kovalainen had enjoyed an excellent qualifying on Saturday to make the second session – only the fourth time Team Lotus have extended their day-two running – but the Finn's Sunday was over after just two laps following a mechanical failure.
Things then went from bad to worse for the Hingham constructor as veteran Italian Jarno Trulli did at least manage to take his lap count into double figures – but only just, before another reliability failure saw his race and Team Lotus' home grand prix come to an abrupt and premature end.
It was the last thing Team Lotus wanted from their big weekend at Silverstone – and a poor end made worse by double finishes from fellow 2010 new boys Virgin and Hispania.
'It is obviously a disappointing end to what had been a very encouraging weekend for the team,' admitted Team Lotus' chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne.
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'Sometimes races end like this but we have been working very hard to minimise these sorts of problems, so we will regroup and come back stronger in Germany.
'It looks like Heikki suffered an electrical problem on his gearbox; for Jarno we need to take a close look at what went wrong on our side and make sure it does not happen again.'
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The race started with half of the Silverstone track wet and the new start/finish straight bone dry – challenging conditions that left Kovalainen frustrated at an opportunity missed.
'It was a real shame,' said the Finn. 'I had a really good start but then lost fourth gear. I do enjoy this circuit and the conditions out there were exactly what they should be for real drivers – a mix of two types of circuit, one wet and one dry, and exactly what I love racing in.
'It was the type of race we could have taken advantage of, but there you go – these things happen.'
It was a Silverstone weekend with plenty of Lotus goodwill on show alongside home favourites McLaren and Williams – even if the lines are still blurred between Team Lotus and Group Lotus-backed Renault, who had a much better day of things as Nick Heidfeld picking up four black and gold points in eighth.
'Finding the balance between attacking, fighting and not killing the tyres was not only very satisfying but it also worked out well for us,' added Heidfeld.