Romain Grosjean placed eighth and Pastor Maldonado eleventh in mild and pleasant conditions during qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix. Pastor suffered from unwanted oversteer on his final qualifying lap and was just shy of breaking into the top ten. Romain made it into the final top ten and dug deep for his P8 lap, a 1min 37.905secs.
Romain Grosjean, E23-02. Q: P8, 1:37.905. FP3: P10, 1:39.405
“It was a very tight qualifying session which made it very exciting in the car and I’m sure exciting to watch too. We made some good changes from yesterday which gave me a nice balance and I think that was about the best possible from the car at the moment. It’s going to be a long race and I think the key will be to take care of your front left tyres. I’m enjoying driving the E23 and I think we’ve found a strong baseline set-up which is important for me.”
Pastor Maldonado, E23-03. Q: P11, 1:38.134. FP3: P16, 1:39.766
“I expect to fight in Q3 but it’s been harder for me so far this weekend than it has in the previous two races. For whatever reason we’ve struggled through the weekend to find the right balance from the car which means I can’t be fully confident to push on this type of track. That said, I’m looking forward to tomorrow as we’re stronger on race pace so will be much more competitive hunting down those points we want.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“We’re looking forward to a strong race.”
How was qualifying for the team?
We qualified where we should have done with the current pace of the E23, meaning both drivers did good jobs. Romain made cleaner progress through the sessions and was able to get a strong final lap for his P8 position. Pastor didn’t have the cleanest of laps at the end of Q2 so was unlucky to just miss out on being in the top ten.
What are the considerations for tomorrow’s race?
We have good tyre management and the weather prediction is for dry and mild conditions so it’s a case of deducing where the best opportunities lie. We’ve seen a mix of two and three stops here before and I’m sure we’ll be in that range tomorrow. Both tyre compounds are behaving well with a reasonable lap time difference between them so there shouldn’t be too much to catch us out. We’re looking forward to a strong race.