27 September 2015
F1 Japanese Grand Prix: Double score masks Grosjean tyre woe
Despite trouble with his tyres, Romain Grosjean helped Lotus get both cars to the chequered flag and in the top ten at the end of a difficult weekend at Suzuka.
They may not have had hospitality and lived on hand-outs from the F1 Paddock Club all weekend, but Lotus defied the odds to bring home both its cars in the points at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Up against it from the moment they arrived at Suzuka, the team's mechanics continued to work diligently throughout, and were rewarded when Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado produced clean races that culminated in seventh and eighth places at the chequered flag.
“It's great to get both cars solidly in the points and score more than our immediate championship rivals, Force India and Toro Rosso,” the team's Alan Permane commented, “Force India looked stronger than us in the race, and we didn't have the pace to match [Nico] Hulkenberg today, but it was nevertheless a good performance from both drivers and the entire team.”
While Lotus' cause was helped by the equally rapid Sergio Perez picking up a puncture on the opening lap, Grosjean and Maldonado were able to hold their own in front of Hulkenberg until Force India got the undercut at the first round of stops. From there, the black-and-gold pair ran reliably in the points, although Grosjean revealed that his bid to improve on seventh was being hampered by a lack of grip in the closing stages.
“We finished with both cars in the points, so I'm definitely happy with that, but, when it came to my own race, we were a little bit slow against the Force India,” he confirmed, “We tried to fight Nico but couldn't and I really struggled with the tyres at the end – it seems the new Pirelli limits hurt us more than our rivals, so we'll work around that for the next race. Overall, though, we've had a good result as a team.”
With a high court action appearance hoping to be averted with investment from Renault at the start of next week, Lotus should be on the grid – and more active in the paddock – next time out in Russia.
“It just goes to show that you can never discount an Enstone team, no matter what the circumstances,” deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi insisted, “We have to say thank you to all the crew at the track for working through a slightly unusual situation and look forward to continuing to fight back in Sochi.”
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