Lotus Racing was very happy with its showing in yesterday’s qualifying session for the Spanish GP, which will start hours from now. With new updates to the T127, the Malaysian owned team described the performance as “closing the gap to the midfield they’ve now set their sights on, and moving further away from the new teams they’ve led throughout 2010”.

It’s true that the gap is now reduced. Best of the Lotus duo, Jarno Trulli, qualified 19th ahead of teammate Heikki Kovalainen, places that are almost becoming permanently theirs on the starting grid. No surprise there, but the Italian’s time of 1:24.674 was just 1.5 seconds slower than the straggler of the midfield pack, which was Rubens Barrichello in his Williams, who did 1:23.125 to fall out in Q1. Trulli’s time was about 3.2 seconds slower than the best time in Q1 of 1:21.412, set by eventual pole sitter Mark Webber. That’s clearly some improvement in pace over previous GPs and Lotus eased past Virgin and HRT comfortably yesterday.

“It was an excellent session for the team today, and a very good job by both drivers. Jarno has been a bit less happy with the balance of his car today than in practice yesterday, but still put in a great performance, whereas Heikki felt the balance had improved. Overall, our times today show how the package we’ve brought to Barcelona has helped us move ahead, so we can all be very pleased. Now we’re all looking to close the gap to the teams ahead, and take the race to them,” said Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer.