The 8 points and 1 podium it is bringing home from Hungary are below Lotus ART’s objectives, but there are many reasons for the team to be satisfied and it can take advantage of the summer break to recharge its batteries before the next races at Spa on August 27
Jules Bianchi and Esteban Gutierrez qualified in 6th and 9th position respectively on the starting grid for the first race. Starting on the dirty side of the Hungaroring, Jules lost two positions at the start and an additional two positions around the tyre change that the team wanted to make later in order to give the driver everything he needed to battle at the end of the race. Taking advantage of tyres in better shape than his rivals, Jules was able to move up to 7th position despite the problems in overtaking that drivers experience on the Hungaroring. Esteban’s first race ended in the 4th lap after his engine experience a fatal mechanical problem.
The fight with Grosjean was really exciting in the last couple of laps and it was really satisfying to overtake him in the dead last corner.
Jules experienced the same issue on Sunday, on a damp track where he started on the odd-numbered side of the starting grid, the side which generates less grip. In fifth position in the first lap, he was shunted by a competitor whom he was overtaking, and he drove the rest of the race with a broken wing and damaged steering. After changing tyres when the track dried up, then again when a cloudburst occurred late in the race, Jules managed to secure points for a sixth place finish.
At the same time, Esteban Gutierrez made a blistering comeback from the penultimate row on the back of the starting grid in the second race. Working with the team, the young Mexican driver gambled on starting with slick tyres despite a damp track that looked like it would dry quickly. Esteban made one less pit stop than the rest of his rivals, but it was on the track that he secured a podium by the sweat of his brow, overtaking his rivals one by one, through exemplary control of his car and the weather conditions, in particular overtaking the championship leader in the last corner of the last lap.
In the championship, Jules moves up one place and Esteban moves up two. They are both currently in 4th and 12th position respectively. Lotus ART moves up to 4th position in the teams’ championship.
Jules Bianchi: “Conditions were not easy and the car’s balance did not completely suit me in qualifying. The 6th position start was not bad in and of itself, but it was on the bad side of the grid and I lost positions during the start. We probably did our pit stop two laps early but that’s always easy to say after the fact. I fell back to 11th position. There is only one place to overtake on the Hungaroring, in the first corner, and you are always expected when you are in another driver’s rear-view mirrors. The 7th place finish was therefore good because it enabled me to start from the front row the next day. But unlike the even-numbered side, the odd side was damp and I lost a few positions. Then Van der Garde hit hard on the left side of my car and it was no longer so easy to drive. Under these conditions, managing to finish in the points is a good performance.”
Esteban Gutierrez: “My fifth top 10 in a row was satisfying in qualifying, especially if we consider that we experienced some mechanical gremlins in practice. I was only 4 tenths shy of the pole position and the real downside was the difficulty we have to overtake on the Hungaroring. It was a big challenge I could not take on Saturday because of an engine problem, which the team is not responsible for, but I did overtake on Sunday and I have to admit it was really fun and exciting to catch up with the frontrunners after a start from the second to last row. At first, I thought it would be better to be conservative and to manage the tyres but the car Lotus ART gave me was flying and I pushed hard to make the most of it. It was a combination of different factors but the motivation never left us and we showed we can recover from a bad Saturday. The fight with Grosjean was really exciting in the last couple of laps and it was really satisfying to overtake him in the dead last corner. I can’t wait to race in Belgium and to have a straight forward race weekend.”
Frederic Vasseur: “It was very hard to bring everything together in qualifying and the result was satisfactory because traffic and managing the car could have made things even more complicated. Jules drove two great races. No one can look into their crystal ball and see what pressure or what type of tyre to select at such and such time, and he secured the best result he could have hoped for because his overtaking chances were reduced on a track like the Hungaroring. Esteban did not lose his concentration ; he made an exceptional comeback showing once again the extent of his talent and his race intelligence under dramatic conditions.”
By: Lotus ART