Strong end to qualifying season from Lotus

Heikki Kovalainen (Grid 19)“That is a great way to end qualifying for the season, one of the really good laps. I’ve had a lot of good sessions this year but that really stands out as one of the best. Jarno has been strong here all weekend and I was just behind him after the first runs so I had to really pull out everything to beat him. We made a couple of adjustments to the tyres and it paid off with that final lap with seconds left on the clock. We’ve also finished here closer to the opposition than we have all season, and even though it’s a shorter lap here it’s still a very good sign that we’ve found quite a bit of time with the new rear wing and I think that will help us again tomorrow. The forecast looks like rain and that always makes it interesting around here, so I think whatever happens it’ll be a good Sunday, and hopefully a great way to end the season.”

Jarno Trulli (Grid 20th)“I’m reasonably pleased with how it went today. The second set of tyres weren’t as good as the first and even though I improved my time I still couldn’t really push - I’ve had a pretty good weekend so far but still haven’t found a balance I’m really happy with, but the main thing is we’ve increased the gap to the cars behind us and moved closer to the teams directly ahead.”

Mike Gascoyne, Lotus chief technical officer “That was a strong end to qualifying for this season. This morning we were having some issues getting the pace out of the soft tyres but this afternoon we turned that around and Heikki in particular got everything he could out of the car. Jarno was a little less happy with the balance but for me this is a good way to finish qualifying this year. Throughout the second half of the season we have moved closer to the group in front and that was particularly evident today, so the aim for tomorrow is clear - have a strong race and give ourselves a successful last race of 2011.”

Tony Fernandes. Lotus team principal“What a great way to end the last qualifying session for Team Lotus. We were within a second of cars right up to 11th place, and just over 0.4 off Williams, so to bring to an end our qualifying for 2011, having made up that amount of time, is a real achievement. People forget that we do not have KERS this year. If we had KERS, as we do next season, would clearly be fighting in the midfield, so I am very happy with how far we have come in such a short amount of time. Our next qualifying session will be as Caterham F1 Team and that is a whole new chapter for us, something we are all very excited about and if we can maintain the progress we have shown in our first two years we will be right on course to achieve our long-term goals.”

Thierry Salvi, Renault Sport F1 support leader to Lotus“The challenge for us here has been to help maximise the potential of the new rear wing and DRS system on the cars. The update is a big step forward for the team and it means we have had to work on the ratios and find the right balance between the settings we use for qualifying and the race. That is what the top teams ahead have had to do all year and for us that is the first time we really had to work in that area this season, so it has been a good challenge, and a sign of how far the team has come. It looks like it has worked out because the feedback from the drivers has been positive and the result today is what we were hoping for, so this goes down as a good result for the whole team.”

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