The Final Countdown – 2014 Abu Dhabi GP, Saturday

Saturday 22nd November

Lotus F1 Team completed the final qualifying session of the 2014 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season with Romain Grosjean sixteenth fastest and Pastor Maldonado eighteenth at Yas Marina for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Romain was the driver closest to breaking into the Q2 session, but will start from the back of the grid with an additional drive-through penalty for tomorrow’s race.

Romain Grosjean, E22-03. Q: P16, (Starts P20) 1:42.768. FP3: P17, 1:43.778
“It’s not going to be an easy race with starting from the back and having a drive-through penalty, but that’s what we started with at the beginning of the year in Melbourne so there’s some kind of cruel symmetry there! We will try our best in the race; you never know what can happen. It’s a long Grand Prix and you never know how the season finale can play out. Let’s hope we achieve the best result possible.”

Pastor Maldonado, E22-02. Q: P18, 1:42.860. FP3: P16, 1:43.718
“It was difficult to get temperature into the front tyres which meant they started locking up easily on braking, which obviously penalises you for lap time. We didn’t expected to be very competitive this weekend as Yas Marina is a very particular track with slow speed corners and long straights, neither of which favours our car. We did the best we could but in the end it wasn’t enough. Nonetheless, we hope to be more competitive tomorrow as we should be better than our rivals in terms of tyre degradation. A good strategy will be key, as it is a long race and we should recover a decent amount of places.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“We should move forward in the race.”

How was qualifying for the team?
Qualifying was pretty representative of our entire season and we have plenty of work to do in the race tomorrow. Certainly we’re far closer to the front of the grid in terms of lap time than we were at the start of the season, however both drivers have a lot of cars ahead of them on the grid so we’ll be working hard on a strategy which enables us to make the most the race. Romain has the additional challenge of starting from the back of the grid with a drive-through penalty too, so there’s no point being conservative with his strategy.

What are the positives heading into the race?
We have a pretty good past history in Abu Dhabi and the E22 looks quite reasonable in the longer runs so there is definitely potential to move forward over the course of the 55 laps. Both drivers are driving well and we’ve seen good reliability of late. We’ll all be giving it everything we’ve got.