Qualifying - Malaysian GP report: Lotus Mercedes
Romain Grosjean qualified eighth and Pastor Maldonado twelfth after a rain-affected qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit. Both cars progressed easily through a dry Q1 session, however rain fell early in Q2. Romain was able to post a strong time in the dry aspect of the second session; Pastor, unfortunately did not break into the top ten and will start from P12 tomorrow. After a wait for heavy rain to abate, Q3 saw Romain post his P8 time, a 1min 52.981secs.
“We had never driven with wets on the car before so it was a bit of a discovery mission but everything was good. It wasn’t an easy qualy, but the team made the right calls. It was a safe choice to go out on extremes wets first. We then went onto inters but the timing didn’t allow us to finish our lap so we had to pit. We only did one timed lap in those conditions but we made it and I think we got the best we could.The race is going to be interesting; we have quite a mix of cars around us but it’s a long race, it’s a hot race and even without rain, it’s quite a demanding race on the cars and on drivers. It’ll definitely be interesting!.”
“The performance was there today and we could have made it to Q3 had it not been for the weather changing. We got to the track a little bit late on my last run and that penalised us, but we showed we had good pace in Q1. I felt like we had already made a step forward. Overall the car was quick and consistent so hopefully we can recover some places tomorrow. We’re targeting points.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director
How was qualifying for the team?
That was a pretty standard Malaysian qualifying, where you had to ensure you were out on the correct tyres at the right time. Q2 was the tricky session, as it was a crowded track with everyone was trying to get a run before the rain came. Romain was able to get through this comfortably whereas Pastor narrowly missed the cut. Q3 was all about being on fresh intermediate tyres right at the end of the session. P8 on the grid is okay, although you always want a little bit more.
What are the considerations for tomorrow’s race?
From where we are on the grid we can have a good race. Friday’s tyre wear and degradation information leads us to expect at least a two-stop race. The weather looks like it should be dry, especially with an earlier start this year. The main focus will be tyre management in the heat.