Lotus ART finished its first meeting of the 2011 GP2 Main Series season with a podium and several encouraging signs for the rest of the season. Qualifying on the 4th line after long being a contender for the pole position, Jules moved climbed to the 3rd step of the podium after the first race. On Sunday, the French driver was on track for a repeat performance when Romain Grosjean sent him spinning at the beginning of the second lap. After this collision in which he was the innocent victim, Jules moved back up from second-to-last place to 7th and secured 5th place in the overall classification with 6 points, 7 points off race leaders Romain Grosjean and Sam Bird.
Esteban Gutierrez has had a rough start in the series. The Mexican driver qualified in 24th position and was eliminated in the very first few meters of the first race in a general pileup. The next day, for the first time all weekend, he was able to demonstrate the extent of his talent, moving up to finish in 11th.
“Overall, it was a positive weekend. Performance was there from the free sessions and in qualifying we had the potential to secure the pole position. But as always happens in GP2, the weekend goes very quickly and the slightest hitch costs you dearly! The three neutralizations hurt us bad, but 4th place on the starting grid was not a catastrophe. Unfortunately, I lost a lot of time behind Clos, as well as after my pit stop where I found myself caught in traffic. Despite it all, I moved up from 6th place to 3rd, and this first podium of the season is very encouraging. I think that in the second race we could have done better if Romain Grosjean had not bumped me when I had overtaken him. What’s done is done, and I am focusing on the Barcelona races, where I hope to get the results that Lotus ART deserves.”
“The weekend was tough at the start with changing conditions and an accident in the first lap of my very first race in the GP2 Main Series when I got hit by behind. But in the end it was much better and we left Istanbul on a high note. We fought back and gained 14 positions, our strategy was smart and it paid. It was an important step forward at the end of a difficult weekend and it leaves me much more confident.”
-source: lotus art