HOCKENHEIM, 19th July 2014 (F1Plus / Graham Keilloh) - Romain Grosjean felt that fifteenth fastest in qualifying for the German Grand Prix is about as much as can reasonably expected from the Lotus right now.
The Franco-Swiss reckoned there wasn’t much more performance in the car available than what he extracted.
“Before qualifying we said if we go to Q2 that’s a very good job, we made it so, you know you can only take what you have, do your best and be happy with what you achieved,” Grosjean said.
The Lotus driver reckoned he might have been one place higher (though it’s a place he gains thanks to a penalty anyway).
“I think we could have beaten Gutierrez but at the last corner I completely lose the rear end for some reason, as you go 110% of the car sometimes it’s not any more driveable.”
For Pastor Maldonado however things were even worse as an inconveniently-timed red flag plus a later mistake left him languishing with a P19 start for the race.
“(A) bad one. On the red flag I was improving my lap, it was all my best sectors," Maldonado said.
“And then we risked to have only one lap at the end and I missed the lap at turn one. I ran a little bit wide on the artificial grass, I put two wheels on the grass and I lost so many time there.
“I think around P15 was realistic today, 14 or 15.”
Both of the Enstone drivers welcomed the prospect of rain for tomorrow’s race.
“Mixed conditions couldn’t hurt much as we are far back on the grid” said Grosjean, “so everything that comes we take it...the performance in qualifying is 100% of the car so if it’s a normal dry race we cannot target points.”
Maldonado reckoned further that the Lotus is more potent in the wet.
“In the rain we are quite competitive. There is less engine effect. Hopefully some showers would be super for us” he said.
Both drivers again lamented the loss of FRIC, which they reckoned hurt their car more than most others. “Let’s put it that way: Lotus has been using it longer than other teams, so yes (it hurt Lotus more)” said Grosjean ruefully.
Meanwhile, on the day that Maldonado was confirmed as being retained at Lotus for 2015, Grosjean didn’t give much away on his own future.
Upon being asked if he was planning to stay, he said: “I don’t know, my plan is to try to win races, (with) the team that can give me a car to win races! My future is open so I don’t know yet.
“Of course there may be changes here that can certainly help the performance but it’s not yet enough to win races.”