Fri: Lotus, Caterham, Marussia

Friday 25-July-2014 14:42

Lotus failed to make any inroads in Friday's practice for the Hungarian GP, joining Caterham and Marussia at the back of the field...

Lotus F1:
Pastor Maldonado: "The car feels pretty reasonable here even if we missed a lot of the afternoon session because of a problem with the cooling system. It's a circuit I love so of course it was frustrating to miss track time as it's what you want to improve the car. As always, we have a reasonable amount of work to do ahead of tomorrow's qualifying, where we will be pushing all the way as grid position is so important here."

Romain Grosjean: "It was an okay day for me and we didn't have any problems with my car which is always a positive. The car balance doesn't feel bad but getting grip from the tyres is the biggest challenge here. It's pretty hot and we expect that to be the same tomorrow, which should be good for tyre warm-up. I think we could perform better here than we have of late; that's certainly the target."

Kamui Kobayashi: "Overall, it's been a better Friday than we've had for a while. We made good progress on nearly every run and it looks like from our times today that we may be quite a bit more competitive with our nearest rivals than for quite a few races. Good reliability has been one of the keys to that, from us and Renault, so we should be pretty pleased with how Friday's gone for us in Hungary. Similar to my teammate, on my first run in FP1 there was almost no grip at all, plus I had some issues with front and rear brake locking so we made quite a few changes to the car for the second run and found a small improvement next time I went out. The grip was still so low I couldn't really judge how the balance actually was - it was switching from oversteer to understeer in each corner so we made more mechanical and aero changes for the next run and we definitely started to find some time. By the end of the session the grip was improving and I was finally starting to find a balance that was working, but also important was that we had a clean session with no reliability issues so we could make sure we ran through the whole program. In FP2 we went straight out on a set of mediums for the first run and I immediately had quite a lot of understeer pretty much everywhere. We tried another mechanical change and the balance did improve a little, but on my quickest lap on the second run I had a small spin so we boxed to go onto the soft tyres for the first time. The car definitely felt better on the softs than the mediums, and on the long run they held up pretty well, so that gives us some good strategy options for Sunday. Now we have to continue this performance through to tomorrow and Sunday and aim to fight as hard as we can in quali and the race."

Marcus Ericsson: "At the start of FP1 the grip level was just so low - the car was sliding around everywhere and I couldn't push anywhere around the track. I know the Hungaroring is always pretty green at the start of the weekend, but it was worse than I'd expected. You can go chasing the track when it's like this, trying to find setups that work, but we have to let the track come to us as the grip level improves overall, so for the next run we continued with the plan and were improving, little by little as the session went on. The track temps had gone up a lot in FP2 and for me the car was behaving quite strangely on the first run. It was switching from understeer to oversteer through most of the corners and, honestly, it was quite hard not to make a mistake. Towards the end of that opening run the balance did start improving a little, but it was still pretty hard to push as much as I'd have liked. On the options the balance improved quite a bit and as the track was rubbering in the grip levels finally started improving. On my performance run on the softs I didn't really have a clean lap so there was quite a bit more time to come, but with the time left in the session we went onto the long run and our race pace looked ok. It's good to see we've made progress here from setup, it gives us a chance to be much more competitive with Marussia than we've been for a while, so after we've been through all the data from today we want to continue to improve tomorrow, and again on Sunday."

Jules Bianchi: "We've struggled a little with the balance of the car today, which has made it very difficult to arrive at a good set-up. This morning was very problematic but we seem to have improved a little for this afternoon, just not quite enough to be back ahead of Kobayashi. So, we will continue to push to find something more from the car in time for qualifying tomorrow, as we need to ensure a good position relative to the cars behind for the race."

Max Chilton: "It was another difficult start to the day with the small fire we experienced at the start of FP1. This lost me most of the session, as we had to change the gearbox, but credit to the Team for achieving such a quick turnaround and enabling me to get even five laps of running as a benchmark. This was enough to tell me that this afternoon the car was very different at the beginning of FP2, maybe in part down to the temperature increase and an overall lack of grip. We've made some good progress but we're not where we want to be yet, which is ahead of the Caterhams."

Related Links
FP2: Hamilton Stays On Top In Hungary
Friday's Shots From Hungary

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