In its 50th year of hosting the sport, Britain’s Silverstone Circuit welcomed the 9th round of the 2014 Grand Prix Championship today, and despite the warm support from British fans for our black and gold team, it was another thorny race for Lotus.
The race weekend had not started well with Pastor Maldonado failing to qualify after he ran out of fuel. This resulted in him starting at the back of the grid, in P20. Romain fared slightly better beginning the race from P14.
A nasty accident by former Lotus F1® Team Driver, Kimi Räikkonen, then cut short the race in lap 2, with all drivers under the red flag whilst repairs to the guardrails were made and track debris removed. A re-start under the safety car saw Romain then begin in P16 and Pastor in P14. Several laps later, a shunt for Pastor Maldonado saw him airborne for several seconds but continue the race seemingly unscathed. It wasn’t until the penultimate lap, however, that his fight became difficult when he suffered exhaust issues and was finally classified 17th.
Romain, on the other hand, who had also been battling hard had advanced to P12, before going on to take the flag in the same position. Both drivers began the race on medium tyres before switching to hard compounds.
Romain Grosjean P14 E22-03: “It was a difficult first start to the race for me. I had a switch problem which meant limited power, but despite that we had a good first lap. I avoided the incident with Kimi, but my visor did get damaged by some debris. The restart went pretty well for me and the car felt alright. Towards the end of the race, on medium tyres, our pace was much better. We came close to the points but we’d started the race from too far down the grid. I understood quite a lot from the car today which should assist us in making progress."
Pastor Maldonado DNF E22-01: “My first start felt good but after the restart we struggled for power so I wasn’t able to fight with the cars around me. I still pushed as best I could but making progress was difficult. There was contact from Esteban Gutierrez, the result of which I’m told looked spectacular, but in the car it was over very quickly and we kept on racing. We’re not sure if this added to the cause of my retirement, certainly the rear wing was moving about more than normal so we don’t know yet what other damage there was. Now I look forward to testing here on Tuesday.”
Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal: "Once more the team demonstrated great teamwork over a challenging weekend. Unfortunately we weren’t able to take advantage of what looks to be much more competitive damp weather performance as the weather was much better today. It was an eventful race and we’re thankful no-one was hurt in the incident at the start. Our performance was short of where we want it to be, but both drivers gave their all. As our local race, it was fantastic to see so many people from Enstone here and we thank them all for their ongoing hard work.”
The team now head to Germany for the next round of the competition that takes place in Hockenheim on the 20th July.