While not the best result for Team Lotus, Heikki Kovalainen insisted that the 16th place finish in the Chinese Grand Prix marked the best peformance for the team as it was able to beat some of the established teams on merit in Shanghai.
The Finn was able to clinch a 16th place finish which put him ahead of both the Sauber of Sergio Perez and the Williams of Pastor Maldonado, with the result down to both strategy and pace as opposed to problems for the rival pair.
As a result, Kovalainen said the performance was the best yet for the second year team as it took a step forward in its competitiveness.
"That is our best ever performance,” he said. “It's not the highest place we've had but today we beat two midfield cars in a straight fight so I am very happy, with my performance and the performance of the whole team.
“We knew we would struggle in the cool conditions yesterday but today the temperatures rose and we expected to be able to put in the sort of race that would do justice to the pace that is in the car. We will keep working hard to improve the car's behaviour in the cooler conditions and we can only get better from here."
With Jarno Trulli in 20th place and just a lap behind the leader, chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne was pleased with the result.
"That was an absolutely fantastic race from both drivers and from the pitcrew who performed brilliantly under huge pressure,” he said. “It is very satisfying to have beaten two other midfield teams on track on pace and strategy and to be able to show that we have bridged the gap to the established teams. Both drivers made a good start and with the higher track temperatures we knew our race pace would be good, and so it proved.
“With the tyre degradation we were able to stick to two stops, which was always our plan and that allowed us to jump a couple of people, giving us our strongest race in F1. Additionally, we were only lapped once, right towards the end of the race, so I am very proud of the whole team today.”