Team Lotus had a reasonable qualifying session at Hungary with Heikki Kovalainen finishing 19th and Jarno Trulli 20th. Heikki was upbeat to have finally found a better set-up after struggling through practice. Jarno on the other hand managed to qualify 20th only using prime tyres.
Heikki Kovalainen, Car 20, Chassis T128-04:
“After a bit of a tough weekend so far I’m really pleased with how quali finished up. I’ve not been able to find a balance I’m happy with all weekend and we made a couple of changes for qualifying that finally took us in the right direction. On the first run I couldn’t get a clean lap together, but I was quietly optimistic we could hook it all up on the second run and that’s how it ended up. I had to work pretty hard to get it all right and it’s very pleasing to see it come good in the last minutes of Q1. The updates we’ve brought here are working very well for us and it looks like we’ve made a gain relative to the guys ahead, and with Jarno clearly much more competitive here the mood is really good across the whole team.”
Jarno Trulli, Car 21, Chassis T128-01:
“This has been a very good day, even though in qualifying I didn’t manage to get everything I could out of the car. On the first run we went with the prime and the car was oversteering a little. On the second run we went onto the super softs and found more understeer than I’d had all weekend so I wasn’t really able to find the pace I’d had yesterday and this morning. Despite that I am really pleased with how this weekend’s gone. The new power steering system has transformed the car for me and I’m so much happier now – it’s really like night and day, and I can’t wait to get back in tomorrow and see what we can do in the race. The difference between the two tyre choices means strategy will come into play in a big way, so let’s see what we can do.”
Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 Support Leader: “We can all be pleased with the performance today. From the engine side we have been working on giving the drivers the right engine maps for this track, focusing on driveability which is key to maximising on this type of twisty track and I think both drivers extracted as much as they could from the complete package today. Our race pace looks pretty good for tomorrow as well so I think we are in a good position all round."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer:
“That was a pretty good qualifying for the team. We only ran one set of options on both cars in Q1 to save them for the race which will put us in good a position for the race tomorrow with the degradation levels we are going to see. Both drivers did a good job today. Jarno has been much happier with the car all weekend but couldn’t quite translate that into his qualifying runs. He made a couple of small mistakes on his quickest lap which cost him a bit but it is good to see how well he has responded to the updates we have brought. Heikki has been less happy with the balance this weekend but he did an excellent job to get the most out of the car, so well done to him and the whole team.”
Riad Asmat, Chief Executive Officer:
"Firstly I want to say how pleased we all are with jarno’s performance this weekend, in and out of the car. He has responded exactly as we would have hoped to the updates introduced here and has shown exactly why he is rightly considered one of the fastest drivers out there. On the qualifying session itself, I think we have to be reasonably pleased with how that went. Heikki put in a great final lap to edge just ahead of Jarno, and to finish less than three tenths from Buemi and about five tenths from Maldonado suggests that the changes we have made here have paid dividends. Both drivers have said they probably could not have found much more from the cars, but after very solid performances in all three practice sessions, and with good pace in the long runs yesterday, I think we are in good shape for tomorrow’s race.”