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14 November 2011
Lotus Reanult GP comments on the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix 2011
Free Practice 1
Lotus Renault GP began its preparations for this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Romain Grosjean had his first taste of Grand Prix weekend R31 track action today as he completed a trouble-free FP1 session in Bruno Senna’s R31-04.
Making his debut, Romain made the most of the running and completed 29 laps using one set of Pirelli’s medium and soft compound to set a time of 1min 42.685secs, the 12th quickest time of the session.
Vitaly Petrov was less fortunate as his session was shortened due to a steering column problem, and the engine lost power after his two fastest laps. He still ended up 13th courtesy of a lap of 1min 43.118secs and his car will be ready for FP2.
Fastest in FP1 was McLaren’s Jenson Button with a time of 1m 40.263secs.
With the track temperature eleven degrees cooler, Lotus Renault GP started the second session in the early evening at the Yas Marina Circuit. Vitaly and Bruno had to change their visor strip to be ready for driving at dusk.
On the yellow-marked soft tyres, Vitaly and Bruno managed times of 1min 41.947secs and 1min 42.369secs.
As for Vitaly, he was pretty happy with the work he completed and felt that the changes made between the two sessions were an improvement. He was also pleased to have done 31 laps in total, providing the engineers with lots of data with which to try and make further improvements overnight.
The team will need to anticipate how the track temperature will change between final practice and qualifying tomorrow because it is likely to have quite a big impact on car balance.
Lewis Hamilton topped the leaderboard, as he headed the field with a 1min 39.586 secs, ahead of team mate Jenson Button in second.
Lotus Renault GP completed its preparations for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with the third and final session of free practice on another hot afternoon in the Emirates.
The two Lotus Renault cars went out on the Pirelli medium tyre for their first eight laps of the futuristic-surrounded track. Vitaly put in a lap of 1min 43.851secs while Bruno recorded a lap of 1min 44.041secs on his second.
With 25 minutes remaining Bruno and Vitaly went out to try the soft tyre on their third and fourth run. Bruno was the quicker of the LRGP duo, with a 1min 41.509secs lap compared to Vitaly’s 1min 41.594secs - before making switches to the medium Pirellis for qualifying.
Lewis Hamilton set the pace at the front with a lap of 1min 38.976secs ahead of the Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber as the F1 field finalised its settings for the early evening qualifying, scheduled for 1700 local Abu Dhabi time.
Lotus Renault GP will have a lot of work to do during tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after a difficult qualifying session at the Yas Marina Circuit. Despite the session taking place in the early evening, it was still hot as air temperatures reached 26°C.
Both Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov went out early in Q1, putting in a five-lap run on the Pirelli medium tyres before switching to the softs for the final seven-minute push for Bruno and six-minute push for Vitaly.
Vitaly had just enough time to put in another flying lap. He duly nailed a time of 1min 40.955secs to seal 6th place and make it into Q2. Bruno’s 1min 41.391secs was good enough to break into the top 12.
In Q2 Vitaly and Bruno were heading out again on soft tyres – when the session was red-flagged for Felipe Massa knocking over a bollard. That meant Bruno and Vitaly only had nine minutes left to set a lap when the session resumed for the final run. Vitaly set a time of 1min 40.919secs to take 12th on the grid and Bruno put in a lap of 1min 41.079 to go 14th.
In the final Q3 shoot-out, Sebastian Vettel took pole position for Red Bull with a lap of 1min 38.481secs ahead of the McLarens Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.
Lotus Renault GP leave Abu Dhabi in 13th and 16th place, after a hard day’s night at the Yas Marina Circuit with neither car scoring any points.
Just like the entire weekend, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix took place in hot and hazy conditions with an air temperature of 27°C, though the dusk held off for the duration of the race, with the floodlights taking over from the sun.
With the DRS failing, Vitaly was unable to advance from his starting position of P12; he crossed the line in P13. Being unable to overtake anyone else, Vitaly tried to do a one stop race but the hard tyre couldn’t last long enough so he had to stop for the soft tyre.
Bruno had a problem with his KERS which really cost him, and put him back between half a second to a second each lap. There’s no real positives to take from today. Lotus Renault GP will now just have to ensure to do the best job possible to prepare for Brazil…
World Champion Sebastian Vettel spun off with a rear puncture, allowing Lewis Hamilton to lead Fernando Alonso from lap 2. Alongside Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastien Buemi and Jérôme D’Ambrosio had to retire in today’s race at the Yas.
At the front Lewis Hamilton took a dominant victory for McLaren ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari and Jenson Button in the second McLaren.