Romain Grosjean P13 and Pastor Maldonado P16 on free practice at Suzuka.
Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado completed an encouraging first day of running for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka with a total of 105 trouble-free laps completed. Romain was the faster, with a 1min 37.563secs set in the afternoon, making him the thirteenth fastest driver. Pastor set the sixteenth fastest time with a 1min 37.798secs lap.
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director - Technical programme notes
• The first session was predominantly dedicated to aerodynamic assessments with 47 laps completed. Romain ran with an aero rake for his first lap as well as evaluating a new rear wing.
• The second session focused on tyre assessments with 58 laps completed.
• Pirelli’s hard compound (orange) tyre was used in the morning session and the medium (white) and hard compound in the afternoon.
What Lotus learned today:
• The E22 offers a stable platform for further improvements over the course of this weekend.
Romain Grosjean (FP1:P15, 1:38.851, 21 laps / FP2: P13, 1:37.563, 31 laps): “The E22 feels quite good here and it’s always fantastic to be driving a Formula 1 car at Suzuka. We spent a bit of time in the morning getting the brake feel right, but the afternoon was pretty straight-forward. It’s going to be very interesting to see what the weather does over the weekend as there’s been a lot of speculation about this. We were within shooting distance of the top ten today which is always a positive with our generally better race pace. Let’s see what happens in qualifying and what challenges the weather present.”
Pastor Maldonado (FP1: P17, 1:39.097, 26 laps / FP2: P16, 1.37.798, 27 laps): “I’m happy with today. There were no issues with the car and the only problem I had was a vibration from my hard tyres in the second session. Suzuka is a great circuit and I think we have quite good potential here. There’s some more pace to come and our car has looked quite reasonable. I will have a bigger challenge in the race as there will be a ten-place grid penalty as we’re now on to our sixth engine, but if we can race reliably then a good result is still possible.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “It was a good solid day for us. Romain ran with a development rear wing in the morning and a regular rear wing in the afternoon to give us some good comparison data. Both drivers were reasonably happy with their cars, building on the progress made in Singapore. The fast corners of Suzuka seem to suit us better than many circuits which bodes well for the weekend. We’ve considered the various weather permutations as we conducted today’s programme as it will be intriguing to see what emerges over the weekend.”
Lotus F1 Team