Romain Grosjean: "I was expecting to go out earlier so to achieve Q3 for the fourth time in a row feels very good."
Romain Grosjean placed tenth and Pastor Maldonado sixteenth in qualifying for tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix. Romain bounced back from a difficult pair of practice sessions to impress in Q1 and Q2 but ultimately didn’t get the lap he wanted in the final top ten deciding qualifying Q3 session. Pastor suffered from a problem with the front brake circuit of his car meaning he was hampered on his qualifying lap and will start from P16.
Romain Grosjean (E23-02. Q: P10, 1:34.484. FP3: P18, 1:37.151): “I’m really proud of the team and what they achieved between FP3 and qualifying today. From our runs so far this weekend, I was expecting to go out earlier so to achieve Q3 for the fourth time in a row feels very good. I’m actually slightly disappointed, I think we could have placed higher but we were lacking a little bit of grip. Tomorrow is all about the rear tyres – as opposed to China, where it was all about the fronts. We’ll be careful, prepare a car that’s well balanced and then we’ll see what it brings.”
Pastor Maldonado (E23-03. Q: P16, 1:35.677. FP3: P7, 1:36.307): “We had a problem unfortunately and weren't able to get the maximum pace from the car, meaning that it felt like we were lacking in power. It’s not the end of the world as we should be able to fix the problem so we can focus on recovering positions through the race. We have enough tyres to do a different strategy and have showed good potential on both long and short runs throughout the weekend. The pace is there and points are definitely possible so let’s do our best as always.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “We have two different challenges tomorrow.”
How was qualifying for the team?
Romain did a great job through qualifying after we struggled to get his car working for him earlier in the weekend. His pace through Q1 and Q2 was such that we considered a riskier qualifying strategy. He didn’t quite get the optimal Q3 lap but P10 on the grid certainly isn’t the end of the world as there’s good potential. Pastor, in contrast, had a really strong weekend until qualifying when something that we are still investigating caused the front brake system to retain pressure without any pedal input, causing a considerable loss of straightline speed.
What are the considerations for tomorrow’s race?
Tyre performance looks to be reasonably predictable however it’s the brakes where we’ll be paying a lot of attention and monitoring during the course of the race as they generate a lot of heat thanks to the circuit layout here. With Romain we’re looking to move up the top ten as much as possible, whilst with Pastor we have the opportunity to make strong progress through the field as his race pace should be superior to that of quite a few cars ahead of him. It will be two very different challenges, with good opportunities for both drivers to score well.
Lotus F1 Team