Did you notice the “500 Races” special livery on the Lotus Racing T127 at Valencia? Yes, the Lotus name celebrated its 500th Grand Prix at the European GP and the team had flown in Lotus founder Colin Chapman’s son Clive to mark the occasion. Qualifying saw both Jarno and Heikki show good pace to take their “standard parking spots” in front of Virgin and HRT but behind everyone else. In yesterday’s race, the Finn got involved in a crash with Mark Webber and Trulli finished 21st and last.
“Obviously it was a very disappointing end to our 500th race. Jarno got hit at the start, and we had to change the nose. He also took a hit at the back, and that caused a gearbox problem. We were able to fix that and send him out again, although he was three laps down. He was held up by some of the other slower cars, but at the end of the race he was able to push and really show the car’s pace,” said tech chief Mike Gascoyne.
“I was going really well, pulling away from the guys behind by about half a second a lap, and with Mark we were racing for position so I was always going to defend. I didn’t do anything wrong and he just ran into me. I think he missed his braking point and he ran into me at a very bad angle – his front tyre hit my right rear and he took off. I had to make a mandatory visit to the medical centre, and shook hands with Mark there, but I’m absolutely fine, and glad Mark is too,” Heikki said of his incident.
Here’s Webber’s side of the story: “I was looking for the best tow to get the job done and pass him and he was playing quite hard as well down the inside, blocking all of a sudden very aggressively. In the end the thing that surprised me was how early he braked, that’s the thing which caught me out. It didn’t matter where I was or how close to the tow, I still had everything under control.
“Yeah, he braked, or lifted or whatever, and it turns out it’s about 80 metres before I braked for the previous lap so I mean it’s a different category to what had happened the previous few laps,” the Aussie told BBC.