Lotus were left disappointed with their efforts in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix after Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen could manage only eighth and twelfth respectively.
Raikkonen was edged out of Q3 in the dying seconds of the session, while Grosjean could not trouble the leaders on his return from his race ban.
The pair are confident of moving forward in the race, but Raikkonen says the team do not have the pace to challenge right at the front.
“The car was much better overall today than it was yesterday,” said the Finn. “We were quick with the used tyres but for some reason struggled for grip with the new ones in the second session and we were actually slightly slower. We don't seem to have the speed to challenge the leaders here but the car is definitely quicker than that. We'll see what we can do in the race.”
Meanwhile, team-mate Grosjean added that the result was a mix of driver error and lack of pace: “The result is not as good as we wanted,” he said.
“I pushed a little bit too hard on my last lap; it felt good in the car, but it wasn't good for my lap time and there was one moment where I lost most quite a lot of time.
“It was pretty close but I don't think I touched the wall; I'll have to check to see if the Pirelli tyre markings are still there!”
“We're disappointed with qualifying as we were hoping for a lot better than we achieved,” summarised Lotus trackside operations director, Alan Permane. “We improved the car dramatically overnight and through today's practice session. Romain was two tenths slower in Q3 than he had been in Q2, but we could all see where most of that time was lost on his lap.
“Kimi was slower on a fresh set of tyres than he was on a scrubbed set, but it's not immediately apparent why this was the case. He looked in excellent shape with his scrubbed run.”
by Dan Connor