Lotus: Beating a Renault “sweet” for Fernandes

2011 Singapore GP team review

Lotus’s eagerness to keep Heikki Kovalainen in front of Renault’s Vitaly Petrov almost ended in disaster for Sebastian Vettel.

Heikki Kovalainen Jarno Trulli
Qualifying position 19 20
Qualifying time comparison (Q1) 1’50.948 (-0.064) 1’51.012
Race position 16
Laps 59/61 47/61
Pit stops 3 3

Lotus drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):

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 57 58 59 60 61
Heikki Kovalainen 134.072 121.384 119.869 119.173 119.45 119.309 119.521 119.013 119.26 119.758 127.813 141.726 117.979 117.688 117.883 123.19 118.564 117.436 117.692 118.194 117.782 120.481 118.657 119.034 120.282 128.166 139.239 122.039 142.658 123.216 160.809 160.899 121.164 123.24 122.375 118.51 118.645 117.272 118.112 116.919 116.828 117.374 117.525 118.172 116.917 117.444 128.5 143.111 121.994 119.956 115.974 115.705 115.607 116.98 114.807 114.063 118.728 116.593 116.226
Jarno Trulli 132.056 120.737 119.829 119.486 119.224 119.219 119.151 119.222 118.904 119.888 120.464 123.079 120.966 121.42 121.776 132.038 141.211 119.563 168.089 145.07 117.677 129.735 120.424 122.121 117.126 117.315 125.544 141.736 155.568 168.299 161.685 121.19 120.071 117.866 126.199 119.64 123.356 117.967 117.859 118.449 121.222 118.332 118.208 126.13 144.087 120.829 121.216

Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Singapore, 2011

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Singapore, 2011

Start tyre Super soft
Pit stop 1 Soft 32.202s
Pit stop 2 Soft 31.621s
Pit stop 3 Soft 31.207s

Kovalainen began this year’s Singapore Grand Prix the way he ended the last one – with a fire. His brakes burst into flames during the first practice session.

Kovalainen said: “The fire this time was much smaller than last year, and with brakes at the temperatures they run it?s not uncommon to see them catch like that, but it wasn?t a major issue at all.”

It didn’t put him off his stride and he duly out-qualified Trulli for the 12th time this year.

He slipped behind Trulli at the start. But an early pit stop allowed him to jump past Vitaly Petrov – Lotus taking advantage of Petrov being stuck behind Trulli.

Kovalainen made his second pit stop before the safety car which allowed him to keep the Renault behind. The pair came in again together for a final stop on lap 47.

This also happened to be while Vettel was making his last pit stop, and Lotus waved Kovalainen out as the Red Bull was passing them. The pair avoided contact, but the stewards fined Lotus for the early release.

Kovalainen caught Jerome d’Ambrosio and spent an intense couple of laps trying to pass the Virgin while under pressure from Petrov. He eventually broke free to finish 16th.

That may be three places lower than the team’s best result this year, but Tony Fernandes described Kovalainen beating Petrov as “sweet” afterwards.

Heikki Kovalainen 2011 form guide

Jarno Trulli

Start tyre Super soft
Pit stop 1 Soft 31.048s
Pit stop 2 Soft 33.317s
Pit stop 3 Soft 31.168s

Trulli made a great start and ran in front of both Renaults and Jaime Alguersuari in the opening laps.

Nor were any of them able to find a way past before Trulli made his first pit stop on lap 16. But he was back in three laps later with a puncture after being hit by Alguersuari.

He dropped out of the race late on with gearbox problems – the eighth retirement from a race with a technical problem for a Lotus this year.

Jarno Trulli 2011 form guide

2011 Singapore Grand Prix

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13 comments on Lotus: Beating a Renault “sweet” for Fernandes

  1. Ben Everard (@beneverard) said on 26th September 2011, 12:25

    Is this a sign of progress from Lotus that Kovalainen finished in front of the Renault Renault Renault of Petrov… or just a sign that Petrov and Senna struggled throughout the entire weekend?

    Either way I’m please, plus di Resta had a great race too!

  2. Tony : “Now finally we won, we will give you Lotus name” :P

  3. bosyber (@bosyber) said on 26th September 2011, 12:47

    Reliability still remains one of their biggest weaknesses. I hadn’t realised before just how many technical retirements Trulli has had, probably because earlier in the year he was showing so little that no one missed him when he had them.

    But both Trulli and Kovalianen have had their share of trouble, usually related to hydraulics and/or the gearbox. Not sure their Red Bull sourced box is just not a big improvement on the previous one, or whether it is rather their lack of expertise handling it well enough?

  4. I didn’t watch the race so I’m still trying to piece it all together… was Trulli on track to score a point?

  5. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 26th September 2011, 16:09

    Well done heikki. What a superb race. Really really happy. Great promise. Beating petrov was sweet

    Tony Fernandes

    Still really slow though.

  6. themagicofspeed (@) said on 26th September 2011, 16:46

    It’s sad whats happened to Renault. When i think of them now, i think of a skeleton, slowly turning to dust. There seems to be very little left of the slick machine that was so effective in 2005/06, even if a lot of that was due to the combination of Alonso + Pat Symonds, you cant win a championship based on that alone, otherwise Schumi + Brawn would be pasting every race.

    Underinvestment + Crashgate (and the resulting loss of major sponsors, and ultimately, Renault’s full works efforts & money) + Eric Boullier and his ‘Genii Capital’ cronies, have killed this team.

    I just dont get a good vibe from Boullier; he has no background in motorsport that i know of he is just there to cane the staff’s collective backside and squeeze out as much £ss as he can.

  7. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 26th September 2011, 22:36

    Great result for Heiki. They really need to get on top of the reliability. They can’t challenge for points yet but they need to be a in a position to be able to do so.

  8. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 27th September 2011, 3:00

    That was poor work from Lotus to release Heikki Kovalainen in the path of Vettel they shouldn’t have made this mistake as for now they have gained enough experience to know that.

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