Lotus Renault GP technical director James Allison insists that the team is targeting points from the German Grand Prix after Vitaly Petrov secured ninth on the grid at the Nurburgring.
The Russian goes into the weekend looking to return to the points for the first time since Canada having taken a best finish of twelfth in the last two races and managed to secure a top ten grid for the first time since the Montreal event.
Although pleased to make it to Q3, Petrov insisted that there was still a lot of work to be done within the team to improve the pace of the R31 although he remains hopeful of points on race day.
“It was not an easy day for us as it was very difficult to find the right set-up and also to warm-up the tyres in these cold conditions,” he said. “We all worked very hard so it was satisfying to achieve our main target of getting into the top ten, and I think we should be quite happy with our position today. That said, we were still at the limit to get into Q3 so there is more work to do.
“The team did a fantastic job and they gave me a fantastic car. The weather has changed a lot over the last two days so you need to always adapt your driving style, but whether it is wet or dry tomorrow, we are ready for anything.”
Team-mate Nick Heidfeld just missed out on Q3 as he qualified eleventh but insisted that the team was 'on the way back'.
“I was only just over three hundredths of a second off Q3 but margins like that can always be found somewhere, so by no means was this a bad qualifying session for me, although it would have been good to have had a run in Q3 and try to gain a few more places,” he said. “As for tomorrow, so much depends on the weather; if it's wet it makes it very difficult to know what to expect and we know that as a team, our car is better in dry conditions and on the long runs.
“One thing is clear, and that is that we're on the way back. Silverstone was a tough race for us, but we've certainly made a step forward and we need to have a good race tomorrow to demonstrate that. We're definitely targeting points."
Technical director Allison meanwhile insisted that the team was pleased to have improved on its performance at Silverstone a fortnight ago, when Petrov and Heidfeld could only qualify down in 14th and 16th on the grid.
“After the qualifying performance we put together in Silverstone at the last race, we're happy enough to have a car back in the top ten,” he said. “It's sad that Nick missed out by a heartbeat, he was only just over three hundredths off the mark. We're satisfied that we're back on the mend but obviously still a lot of work ahead tomorrow and in the next few races.”