Technical chief Mike Gascoyne hailed the Canadian Grand Prix as a 'huge step forwards' for the Lotus team after an impressive show during the Montreal weekend from Heikki Kovalainen.

The Finn came close to out-qualifying the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi and then enjoyed a strong run in the race - which included a battle with the delayed Renault of Vitaly Petrov in the closing stages.

Kovalainen also ran as high as sixth in the early stages of the race as the first round of pit stops played out and managed to lap both Karun Chandhok and Lucas di Grassi.

"It's been a great weekend, and I'm really pleased for the whole team with the result today," he said. "We finished ahead of Petrov and lapped the other new guys, and although it was hard work managing the tyres, it's still great to show what we can do.

"The race itself was tough, but it's all about the result - I didn't have any technical problems with the car, but the rear wasn't working quite as I'd have liked, and I think that was down to the tyre wear."

Although team-mate Jarno Trulli was forced to retire with a braking issue - caused by a vibration at the front of the car - Gascoyne insisted that the team could be pleased with its performance over the weekend having shown the potential to fight with the established outfits.

"I think overall we can be very happy with the race, and the whole weekend," he said. "The one disappointment was obviously Jarno's problem - we will have to look at it in more detail, but it looks as though the vibration put paid to his race. Before he pulled over he was absolutely flying and the strategy would have really paid out for him, so that's a plus. Heikki drove a fantastic race, fighting all the way with the guys in front, and kept it up right to the end to keep Petrov behind him.

"I think this weekend has been a massive step forward for the whole team. Rather than being just one of the new teams, we actually got stuck in and raced the teams ahead, which is what we wanted to do, so congratulations and thank you to the whole team for getting us to this position. In the end we lapped both of the other new teams, so it was a great effort, and again, well done!"