Lotus: Kovalainen joins in midfield battle

2011 Chinese GP team review

Lotus became the first ‘second year’ team to beat an established team in a straight fight.

Heikki Kovalainen Jarno Trulli
Qualifying position 19 20
Qualifying time comparison (Q1) 1’37.894 (-0.424) 1’38.318
Race position 16 19
Laps 55/56 55/56
Pit stops 2 2

Lotus drivers’ lap times throughout the race:

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2011drivercolours.csv
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56
Heikki Kovalainen 116.493 108.117 107.549 106.457 106.802 106.184 105.893 107.248 107.219 106.702 106.117 106.744 106.661 106.456 106.115 107.934 107.139 107.053 111.202 123.719 105.5 105.207 104.48 104.685 104.858 104.133 104.271 103.826 104.035 104.113 104.197 103.718 104.232 104.619 103.979 104.321 104.437 104.837 104.716 108.564 121.812 103.654 103.065 102.71 102.672 102.917 105.099 104.629 103.2 103.456 103.31 105.169 103.297 102.817 103.685
Jarno Trulli 116.772 108.569 107.305 107.046 106.578 106.457 105.987 107.159 108.318 107.207 107.241 106.692 106.394 106.409 106.868 107.178 106.711 107.742 107.29 113.515 124.368 104.704 104.407 104.532 104.407 105.69 104.251 104.008 104.135 104.141 104.082 104.118 104.255 104.28 104.799 104.815 104.868 105.594 105.649 105.273 105.47 111.61 123.764 104.164 104.889 104.384 102.636 105.721 103.358 102.857 105.234 102.311 102.052 102.776 103.134
Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Shanghai, 2011

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Shanghai, 2011

Heikki Kovalainen

In the cool conditions of qualifying Kovalainen was over a second and a half slower than the Williamses.

But in warmer temperatures on race day Lotus proved able to compete with other established teams on merit for the first time ever.

Kovalainen’s two-stop strategy got him ahead of Pastor Maldonado and he finished the race in front of the Williams and the delayed Sauber of Sergio Perez.

Kovalainen described it as “our best ever performance.

“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.”

Heikki Kovalainen 2011 form guide

Jarno Trulli

Continues to have problems with tyre degradation. Qualified behind Kovalainen and finished in 19th.

Luiz Razia

Drove in Trulli’s place in first practice. Damaged his front wing following what the team described as a “suspension problem”.

Jarno Trulli 2011 form guide

2011 Chinese Grand Prix

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34 comments on Lotus: Kovalainen joins in midfield battle

  1. Lucas "Mr. Veloce" said on 20th April 2011, 15:25

    I am still not sure about these third driver’s in P1, maybe they should not put the third driver in for the first race P1 but from the second race onwards, in Team Lotus’ case, if Trulli finishes behind Kovalainen, he’ll get kicked out for P1 in the next race and vice versa.

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