Lotus happy with Chandhok progress in qualifying

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Team Lotus are running Heikki Kovalainen alongside Karun Chandhok this weekend, keeping Jarno Trulli aside of the track to give the Indian a race chance. Heikki wasn't all that happy about his qualifying performance while Karun was satisfied to be within a second off his teammate in qualifying.

Heikki Kovalainen, Car 20 - Chassis T128-04:
“I’m relatively pleased with the performance today but I think there was still more to come from the car. On the second run I was still struggling to get the front tyres working and I maybe pushed a bit more than I should so couldn’t improve on my first run. That run had gone well and I was able to get a decent time in so all in all not too bad.”

Karun Chandhok, Car 21 - Chassis T128-01:
“I’ve got to say I’m pleased with how qualifying went today. Tony had said to me that if I could get within a second of Heikki he’d be proud, and I finished about 0.8 off him so that’s a goal achieved. One of the challenges today has been finding out how much grip there is on the soft tyres on low fuel and that was always going to be a pretty steep learning curve in quali, but my times have been coming down all weekend so I’m getting there. As I’ve been saying, the last couple of days have been about learning the car, the tyres and how to get the best out of the DRS system, so to get as close as I reasonably could expect to my teammate is pretty good progress .”

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader:
“First I want to say that Karun has done a very good job today. That was his first qualifying session for quite a long time and he has had a lot to take on board this weekend, so to see the improvement he made from his first run to the second is impressive. From the overall engine perspective I think we can still find more time in the setup and while our performance was ok, there is the potential for more, so overall I am reasonably satisfied, but with a bit more work to do."

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer:
“A reasonable qualifying session. Karun has improved steadily all weekend and if he had put his ideal lap together I am sure he would finished just behind Heikki. On his second set of tyres Heikki made a mistake but that did not affect his overall position as he had put in a good lap on his first run. With the rain that is forecast for tomorrow I think we can put in a strong performance and the aim is to pick up some positions and have both cars cross the finish line.”

Tony Fernandes, Team Principal:
“I am pretty pleased with where we have finished today. As soon as I walked out of my hotel this morning and felt how cold it was I knew this would be a tricky day for us – our car really does not seem to like the cold so I think we have ended up about where we should be. I am also pleased with Karun’s performance today, and in all the sessions so far. He has achieved exactly what we wanted him to and has maybe even ended up closer to Heikki than I thought he could after such limited time in the car, so the aim now is to repay the faith we have in him by putting in as strong a performance as he can in the race tomorrow.

“On the wider team front I have also been busy helping push forwards in 2012, in what will be a critical season for us. I have had a number of good meetings today about next year and beyond and am very happy with the way we are progressing, so now I am looking forward to the race tomorrow to hopefully see both Karun and Heikki fight to the end of the race in what could be quite tricky conditions.”