Team Lotus happy with “best race” in Singapore
Team Lotus bosses believe the Hingham outfit's showing in Singapore was as strong as any since the team joined the Formula One grid at the start of last season.
The floodlit race around Marina Bay saw Heikki Kovalainen finish 16th and Jarno Trulli – having looked very strong for the first half of the race – succumb to a prod from Jaime Alguersuari's Toro Rosso and eventual gearbox failure.
And although the Norfolk marque has had better results, there was a feeling the T128 – with its new upgrades – has made a step forward.
Norwich-born chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne said: 'It's mixed reactions from me because that was possibly our strongest race performance, particularly early on, but it obviously did not end for Jarno as we would have wanted.
'Jarno drove a very good first stint and by switching the strategy and stopping Heikki early we were able to control the cars behind us that we were racing at that point.
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'When we pitted Jarno we got him back out in front of the cars he was racing but unfortunately Alguersuari hit him, causing a left rear puncture and ruining his race. He kept pushing when we got him back out but finally he had to stop with a gearbox problem.
'Heikki drove a very strong race and it was good to beat one of the Renaults on pace today, both on track and in the pit stops. It is a shame we could not get both cars to the finish, but this was still a very good performance from the whole team.'
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Team principal Tony Fernandes added: 'For me that is probably the best race we have had in our short life in Formula One.'
And Kovalainen backed up that sentiment: 'We should all be happy as it was a great race from the whole team. After a race like today I can't wait to get back in the car, so we leave Singapore feeling pretty good about the last few races of the season.'
The weekend was one to forget for Group Lotus-backed Renault, who could only managed 15th with Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov's 17th.
Team boss Eric Boullier said: 'Coming to Singapore, we knew that we were in for a tough weekend. The R31 was never suited to street circuits and there were very few reasons to hope this might change here.
'However, we never expected our performance to be so embarrassing. Seeing our cars so low in the classification today, clearly struggling for grip among blue flags, was a painful experience.
'It is difficult to draw any positive from the race apart from the flawless job made by the organisers of the grand prix, who have definitely produced one of the best venues on the calendar.
'We will all forget this race quickly and turn our focus to Suzuka, where the track's quick corners should make us smile again.'