Team Lotus pleased with Spanish weekend despite difficult race

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Spain, Circuit de Catalunyaes

Despite the good qualifying result yesterday, Team Lotus had a long and hard race at the Circuit de Catalunya this afternoon. Jarno Trulli managed to finish the race in 18th position, but his team mate, Heikki Kovalainen,was forced to retire as he went off after a mistake in turn four.

Jarno Trulli, Car 21: "The race was really good. It was another great start for me, another strong start this season, so that was very positive. I gained a number of positions and was right in the race in the beginning. Obviously with soft tyres our car was looking better than it did with the hard tyres and that gave us a very good first couple of stints. Unfortunately towards the middle of the race I felt I had a problem with the exhaust which affected the rear end of the car and meant that my performance was not as good as earlier. But all in all, it was a very good race for me. I fought like a lion and I’m happy with myself and felt that I really got the best out of the car today. There’s still a bit of work to do to catch up with the guys in front, but it’s fantastic that we’ve lapped the guys behind us once again. The overall aero package is good - we just need to focus on developing that for the future and increase the gap even more from the guys behind, and keep on closing the distance to the cars ahead."

Heikki Kovalainen, Car 20: "It's a real shame my afternoon came to an end like that. I made a mistake on the entry to turn four and went off but up until that point the race was pretty good. Both Jarno and I were right in the mix early on and we were fighting in the midfield for a lot of the race but then the tyres started to go off and the early pace wasn't there for the later stages of the afternoon. Maybe we should have pitted earlier on but we've still learnt a lot from this weekend and can take that to Monaco where I think it will be a very interesting weekend for everyone."

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: "We had a good start, particularly Jarno, and in the early stages of the race the pace was ok. Later on we had to manage a couple of small issues on Jarno's car which somewhat compromised his overall speed so we had to manage those throughout the race, but the point is that we have seen the potential of the car. We have made quite a lot of changes over the weekend and now we need to work hard to understand how to maximise the whole package, in set-up and translating that into performance."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "That was a long hard race that was all about managing the tyres. Both drivers started well but Heikki suffered some damage to his front wing that helped Jarno get past. From then on the pace was good. We were trying to stay on three stops and maybe stopped a little late in the first stint, but in the end it was a shame we were not able to get both cars to the flag. Heikki made a small mistake on lap 52 and then Jarno had a cracked exhaust which meant we had to keep an eye on that, but overall we have made real progress this weekend and have amassed a great deal of data on the new package that will help us learn how to get the most out of all the changes, so it is another positive weekend for the whole team."

Kamarudin Meranun, Deputy Team Principal: "The whole weekend has been pretty good for us. We had an excellent result in qualifying and had reasonably high hopes for the race but we always knew it would be tough to replicate what we did on Saturday afternoon over the race distance. We started well and were looking good in the early stages of the race but then Heikki's accident brought his race to an early end and Jarno was pushing as hard as he could on the hard tyres for the final stint but finished a credible 18th. There are a number of positives to take from this afternoon - we were able to fight with the established teams and have shown that we are consistently improving, little by little. That is the key goal for this year and we keep moving forward so we leave Spain pretty pleased overall."