Spa-Francorchamps served up a deluge of rain and hail in the build-up to qualifying but a thrilling session went ahead on time today for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Drivers and teams were initially presented with a wet but drying track, before rain returned during the session. Romain Grosjean emerged through the challenge with fifteenth position for tomorrow’s 44-lap race while Pastor Maldonado took P18.
Romain Grosjean (Q: P15, 2:11.087. FP3: P16, 1:51.509): “Spa is a circuit where you have to be quite brave even in the dry, so in the wet it’s pretty good fun! P15 is quite disappointing. We got through to Q2 but then we were one of the slower of the cars in that session. We knew that the Q1 conditions would suit us a bit better than in Q2 due to the amount of rain on track. We look to the race now and as it’s Spa, you never know what can happen. We’re on the grid and we’ll push as hard as we can for the best result possible.”
Pastor Maldonado (Q: P18, 2:11.261. FP3: P17, 1:51.610): “It was pretty tough at the beginning of the session, but then the track was improving all the time in Q1. We changed for a second set of intermediate tyres and were pushing hard – even with a bit of a spin on one of my laps - but we couldn’t get the improvement in lap time that we wanted. It’s going to be a tough race tomorrow and we don’t know what the weather will bring so our fingers are crossed; we’ll do our best.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “We’re aiming to move forward tomorrow.”
How was qualifying for the team?
“Romain did a good job in Q1 but he wasn’t as comfortable with the rear end of his car in Q2 so ended the session in P15, which obviously isn’t where we want to be. We’ll have a good look at his car and the aero data to determine where improvements can be made. Pastor was looking set to be in the top ten late in the Q1 session but unfortunately spun on his fastest lap. He wasn’t able to progress through afterwards when the rain got worse so unfortunately that ended his qualifying.”
What are the weather and tyre considerations for the race?
“Tomorrow looks to be dry at this stage and both the medium and soft compound Pirelli tyres are working well here from the data we saw on Friday. Two stops is likely to be the norm, with free choice of starting tyre for all, which could make for some different strategies through the field.”
What is the team’s approach to the race?
“As always, we’re seeking to maximise every opportunity. It’s a long lap here with many forces put through the tyres so we’ll closely monitor our and our rivals’ tyre degradation as well as seek to move forward through the order as much as possible.”
Lotus F1 Team