Bahrain post race: Lotus

Nice night shot of Romain Grosjean on the Friday.

Nice night shot of Romain Grosjean on the Friday.

 

Romain Grosjean drove a strong and measured Bahrain Grand Prix to finish seventh whilst Pastor Maldonado endured an eventful race to finish an eventual fifteenth in the first night race of the season. Grosjean started from tenth and worked his way up to seventh without incident. Maldonado started from sixteenth on the grid, served a five-second pit stop penalty then experienced engine-kill activation when entering the pits for his final stop. The subsequent reset and restart process cost Maldonado considerable race time, translating to his fifteenth-position finish.

Grosjean started from P10 on the grid on his qualifying soft compound tyres, changing to scrubbed soft tyres on laps 12 and new medium tyres on lap 31. Maldonado started from P16 on the grid on new medium compound tyres, changing to new soft tyres on laps 10, 24 and 41. Maldonado served a five-second penalty in the first stop and had an engine restart on his final stop.

Romain Grosjean, P7, E23-02: “It had been a tough weekend until now for me, so it was really great to get another strong seventh position. Today’s race was great, especially as there was lots of overtaking. I was really hoping to catch Daniel Ricciardo but he was too quick for us today. It was quite difficult to manage tyres, especially with the rears so I think we did a good job to make the two-stop strategy work. We only had new medium compound tyres for the race, the rest were scrubbed, so it really was a great job by the team. It was a good recovery from Friday and Saturday’s session and I’ll happily take seventh place as my birthday gift for myself and the team.”

Pastor Maldonado, P15, E23-03: “That was a frustrating race for me. I pushed as hard as possible at the start on the medium tyres whilst everyone around me was on the grippier soft compound rubber. Once I moved to the soft tyres I was able to set the race’s then fastest lap so things looked good with our strategy. Unfortunately the engine anti-kill triggered when I came in to make my final pit stop which cost me a lot of time. It’s frustrating as we should have finished strongly. My focus is now Barcelona where I’ve delivered very strongly in the past.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “That was an excellent, straightforward copybook race from Romain. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the pace to challenge the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo today but we were ahead of the rest of our near rivals. We were able to complete some very quick pit stops, which helped both drivers during the course of the race. For Pastor we ran with a different strategy to most of the field, with a three-stop strategy, starting on the harder medium compound Pirellis. This looked to be working very well and Pastor should have finished around the same position as Romain however a five-second pit stop penalty and the engine-kill activating when he entered the pits extinguished any opportunity of a strong result.”

 

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Bahrain Grand Prix - Race Day - Sakhir, Bahrain Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Bahrain Grand Prix - Race Day - Sakhir, Bahrain 407258e8-a93a-4e92-879e-6b4145d4d4d5

Bahrain post race: Williams

Valtteri Bottas finished fourth and Felipe Massa tenth in today’s Bahrain Grand Prix. After a sensor issue on the final fire up caused Massa’s power unit not to start he was forced to start from the pit lane. Massa fought his way back up to eighth but, struggling for pace due to damage sustained after being hit in the early stages, he dropped back to tenth in the final laps.

Bottas made a clean getaway from the grid and after holding P5 for the majority of the race, he was able to capitalise on Sebastian Vettel’s unplanned pitstop for a new front wing, holding off the Ferrari successfully for 17 laps to take fourth.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “It was a race of two halves today for us. Felipe had a sensor issue on the grid and we struggled to return from that. In the end Felipe drove a great race to fight back and bring the car home with a point. Valtteri had a great race as we managed to capitalise on Vettel’s mistake and he did a brilliant job to hold off the Ferrari for 17 laps in the closing stages. Overall, our targets are being met in terms of Championship position but we need to develop the package quicker to catch the cars in front.”

Valtteri Bottas: “I am pleased with the race and happy with fourth position. It was a real shame for the team that Felipe had an issue at the start. It was a lonely race but the final 20 laps were very tough. Sebastian was quicker than me, and closed up behind very fast, but the fight was really good fun. I know a few tricks that can really help to defend and they all worked today, and I am delighted to come out on top today.”

Felipe Massa: “It was a frustrating day for me to have to start from the pitlane. The car struggled to fire-up and once under way I had a lot of positions to make up. A few laps in at Turn Four, Maldonado ran into the back of me and damaged something. From then on I really struggled with the rear and the car was very hard to drive. It was a difficult day but one point is better than nothing.”

Bahrain post race: Sahara Force India

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Bahrain Grand Prix - Race Day - Sakhir, Bahrain

 

Sahara Force India scored four points in today’s Bahrain Grand Prix as Sergio Perez (pictured above) raced to eighth place ahead of teammate Nico Hulkenberg in P13.

P8 Sergio Perez VJM08-02
Tyre strategy: Used Softs (17 laps) – New Softs (20 laps) – New Mediums (19 laps)

Sergio Perez: “Eighth place feels very good and I’m very satisfied. It was a great opportunity to score points today and this is a nice reward for the whole team. Before the race we were not sure a two-stop strategy was possible for us – we thought the tyre degradation would be too high, but the team did an amazing job to make it happen. My engineers were giving me good information over the radio and after the first stint we knew that stopping twice was our best chance of scoring points. I think this was one of my best races in terms of managing the pace and the tyres. There are a lot of positives to take from this weekend and once again we showed that this team has a lot of heart and that we never give up.”

P13 Nico Hulkenberg VJM08-01
Tyre strategy: Used Softs (10 laps) – Used Softs (15 laps) – New Mediums (13 laps) – New Mediums (18 laps)

Nico Hulkenberg: “It was a disappointing result for me tonight: we didn’t seem to be able to find the same level of grip we had in qualifying and that made it really hard in the car. We were in a few battles, but we just couldn’t get the right edge, which is a shame. We seemed to be struggling to preserve the tyres compared to the cars around us and this cost us positions. We will need to investigate what caused us to suffer so much in the race, and hopefully it will at least give us an answer to avoid a similar situation in future races.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: “Finishing with some points is always a good result, especially considering the way in which Sergio and the engineers executed the two-stop strategy. We needed Sergio to preserve his tyres to make our strategy work and he did this perfectly. When there was the need to pull a decisive move, he did so without compromising tyres or car and that proved to be the key for tonight’s result. Nico had a busy race and he always seemed to be in the middle of some battle. He suffered with high degradation today and the extra pit stop compared to Checo dropped him outside the points. Overall, though, we feel very positive leaving Bahrain – it’s a solid result to wrap up the first round of fly-away races and adds four important points to our tally as we head to Europe.”

 

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Bahrain Grand Prix - Race Day - Sakhir, Bahrain

China post race: Sahara Force India

Germany's Nico Hulkenberg in the VJM08.

Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg in the VJM08.

 

Sahara Force India just missed out on points today with Sergio Perez finishing the Chinese Grand Prix in P11. Team mate Nico Hulkenberg retired on lap 10.

P11 Sergio Perez VJM08-02
Strategy: New Softs (11 laps) – New Softs (15 laps) – Used Softs (15 laps) – New Mediums (14 laps)

Sergio Perez: “We raced very hard today, but in the end it wasn’t quite enough to come away with some points. With the strategy we looked at all the opportunities and switched to three stops quite early in the race, which was the right decision. I was able to push hard all the time with the aggressive strategy and fight with the cars ahead of me. In the final part of the race I was catching Ericsson, but he was just too far ahead to make up the ground. We are still not where we want to be in terms of competitiveness, but there are definitely some positives to take because we made an improvement compared to our performance in Malaysia.”

DNF Nico Hulkenberg VJM08-01
Strategy: New Softs (10 laps)

Nico Hulkenberg: “It is disappointing to end the race early, especially considering our previous record of solid reliability. It would have been interesting to see how our race would have developed because I made some good progress on the opening lap when I went around the outside of a few cars and then got a good run at Kvyat, which put me up in P12. We had the pace to keep up with the Toro Rossos and Saubers, so it was positive to see our pace being more competitive. It is still too early to say what caused my retirement: the engineers are looking at the issue and still investigating. All we know at this stage is that I lost drive and had to park the car.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: “We leave China with mixed feelings after a busy race. Sergio performed really well and was unlucky not to see his performance rewarded with a point. He was in a number of battles and was able to compete on more or less an equal footing with some of our direct rivals, which offers an encouraging view for the coming races. It was a shame to lose Nico due to a technical issue, especially as he had made very good progress in the first part of the race. Like Sergio, he was showing some really good pace and it would have been interesting to see where he would have finished had he continued. Throughout the weekend, there have been some encouraging signs regarding our performance and we can build on these as the development of the VJM08 continues.”

 

Sergio Perez.

Sergio Perez.

China post race: Williams

Felipe Massa finished fifth and Valtteri Bottas sixth in today’s Chinese Grand Prix. Bottas had a good start to overtake Massa in the opening corners, only be retaken by Massa before the end of the first lap as the pair battled with Kimi Raikkonen who was able to jump both cars. For the remainder of the race both drivers managed their tyres and the gaps to their rivals before the race concluded under the safety car.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “The team maximised the performance of the car. Fifth and sixth is accurate of the pace we had today. The pitstops were excellent and our race strategy was very good. We just need to continue working on the pace of the car.”

Felipe Massa: “We had a good race today and I managed to get the most out of the car. The team performed very well but we just don’t have the raw speed to catch the cars in front. I will work on my start as that is really the only thing that went wrong for us. We have scored the most amount of points available to us today.”

Valtteri Bottas: “It was a lonely race for me today. I struggled for race pace throughout, but as a team we got the best result we could have achieved. I would have liked to have kept Kimi behind for longer after getting in front of him at the start, but he made a good move on me to retake the position. There is quite a bit of work to do to catch the cars ahead, but it’s only race three, so there is plenty of time.”

China post race: Lotus

Romain Grosjean in the E23.

Romain Grosjean in the E23.

 

Lotus F1 Team scored its first points of the season after Romain Grosjean came home in a strong seventh position in the Chinese Grand Prix. It wasn’t so plain sailing for Pastor Maldonado who, despite a very strong start, suffered from braking issues and late race contact from Jenson Button, eventually retiring from the race with seven laps to go.

Grosjean started from P8 on the grid on his qualifying soft tyres, changing to new medium tyres on laps 12 and 32. Maldonado started from P11 on the grid on his new soft compound tyres, changing to new medium tyres on laps 11 and 33. He retired from the race on lap 49.

Romain Grosjean, P7, E23-02: “It’s the best we could do today and it’s satisfying to have achieved the team’s first points of the season. It wasn’t an easy circuit for us, with a lot of front limited corners that we don’t particularly like, but we had a strong start, and most of the stints were good too. We’ve made a good job improving the car race after race and it’s great to finally score points.”

Pastor Maldonado, DNF, E23-03: “I made a great start and we were running strongly early on. However later I had a braking issue which made it harder to battle. We also have to understand why the brakes locked up so easily coming into the pits. We lost a lot of time here and it compromised the rest of my race. It was a fantastic battle with Jenson and we were passing each other very cleanly; a good, fun, exciting battle. Unfortunately, it looks like he got his braking point wrong and went into the back of me. This can easily happen when you’re fighting for position, braking offline and using DRS, so it’s just one of those things. Certainly our race pace is good, if we qualify a little higher we should be set for a very good time in Bahrain.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “That was a solid race from us which illustrates where we expected to be fighting from the start of the year. Both cars were looking in very good shape for a seventh and eighth finish, and it was a great result from Romain meaning our first points on the board. We achieved our target of overtaking the Red Bull and both of the Saubers with Romain, who delivered everything required. Pastor had a much more difficult race despite a strong start and clearly had potential to finish comfortably in the top ten too.”

 

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Chinese Grand Prix - Race Day - Shanghai, China Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Chinese Grand Prix - Race Day - Shanghai, China

Melbourne post race: Williams

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Williams’ Felipe Massa finished fourth in today’s Australian Grand Prix. Starting in third and opting for a one-stop strategy, Massa lost a place to the Ferrari of Vettel after being jumped at the first pitstop, but after that showed consistent pace to bring the car home with 12 points to start the 2015 season. Valtteri Bottas was unable to race following a lower back injury sustained during qualifying. Following an evaluation by the FIA’s medical team and following a series of tests the FIA Medical Delegate deemed him unfit to take part in today’s race.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “It’s always difficult to compete with only 50 per cent of your armoury with Valtteri having to miss the race, so today was about damage limitation in the Constructors’ Championship and we have managed to come away only a few points behind Ferrari which is a decent result. The team worked very well as a unit all weekend; the pitstop was good and so was the work on the pitwall. We made a decision to pit early because Vettel was a bit quicker behind us, but unfortunately this didn’t pay off for us. We are in a really competitive battle with the teams around us so this race is a marker for the rest of the season. We need to continue improving the car and getting maximum performance from what is a strong package.”

Felipe Massa: “The aim of today was to start the season with a solid points haul and demonstrate that we have a competitive car. We have managed to achieve much of what we wanted so this has been a positive start. The only disappointing part of the race was that I was jumped at the first pitstop by Vettel after losing a second and a half behind Ricciardo on my out-lap which was enough to lose the position. I have faith in the team and the car and we head to Malaysia knowing we are very much in the fight.”

Valtteri Bottas: “I have done a lot of work since the issue with my back came in qualifying to get myself ready, starting treatment immediately, so the news that I couldn’t race today was obviously disappointing but I respect the decision. I now have two weeks until the next race to receive further treatment to ensure I will be back to full fitness and even stronger in Malaysia. I’m very eager to get back in the car and race because the FW37 is looking competitive and I’m confident we can fight for podiums.”

 

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