Lotus Racing ended the first round of flyaway races on a high after Heikki Kovalainen finished 14th in Shanghai, which was not only ahead of the other new teams but the first time a rookie team crossed the line ahead of an established rival, in this case Nico Hulkenberg in his Williams-Cosworth.
The Finn made a bold call early on to stay out on dry tyres (like eventual podium sitters Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg) when most of the pack opted for wets, and reaped the rewards. Trulli on the other hand seems to be carrying all the allocated bad luck as his race once again came to a premature end on lap 34. The problem? Hydraulics.
“Whilst I’m obviously pleased I want to say first how disappointed I am for Jarno. He’s had a lot of bad luck so far – it seems all our bad luck has been on his car, so apologies to him, but it was a fantastic race from Heikki. We judged all the calls correctly and were on the right tyres all the way through, so congratulations to the whole team for that.
“I’m also very pleased to see our race pace was very good, especially at the end on the wet conditions. These first four races were always going to be tough, but we’ve achieved what we set out to and now we’re looking ahead to Barcelona and seeing how the updates we’ve been working on help us move forward,” said Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer.
“It’s kind of bitter sweet today. It’s obviously a great result for Heikki but a real shame for Jarno as he seems to take the brunt of the issues – it’s a bit odd as it does seem to be just his car,” remarked team boss Tony Fernandes.
Lotus isn’t the only team with updates for the start of the European leg of the season, so it’ll be interesting to see where they stand in Spain.