Lotus, once again, earned some much needed points with a repeat performance of the Chinese Grand Prix. As the team arrived in the vast sea of sand, they looked toward the weekend with a renewed confidence. While Pastor Maldonado had faced challenges during the Grand Prix of China, Romain Grosjean had come in seventh, earning the team their first points of the season. Secure in the performance of the E23, the team came to the desert with the knowledge they could run in the points successfully, and hopefully, consistently.
2015 Bahrain Grand Prix Lotus Review: Repeat Performance
During practice and qualifying both Grosjean and Maldonado struggled. Grosjean was somehow able to recover and managed to make it into Q3. This is the fourth time he has done so this season, unveiling some of what the E23 is capable of. Maldonado, however, was not so lucky and ended up qualifying 16th. Problems with the front brake circuit were identified as the issue and the problem was addressed. Maldonado remained optimistic, at the completion of qualifying, saying that they “should be able to fix the problem so we can focus on recovering positions through the race.”
At the commencement of the race, both drivers made a quick, clean start. The E23 has shown itself to have excellent straight line speed and gave the drivers the opportunity to begin to make their way through the field. Grosjean easily settled into the top ten, his car performing solidly, in and out of traffic. Maldonado, however, garnered a penalty early on and had to come into the pits for a five second stop. He swapped tyres and served his penalty, resulting in a loss of position.
The setback, however, wasn’t permanent and soon Maldonado had embarked on a recovery drive of epic proportions. He set the fastest lap of the race and valiantly fought his way through the field to the top ten at the halfway point of the race. After both Maldonado and Grosjean made their second stop they were ninth and tenth.
With the promise of a double earning of points and two cars in the top ten, a feeling of excitement emanated from the Lotus pits. Unfortunately, after pulling in to change tyres, Maldonado’s engine kill activation triggered and that meant he had to completely shut down and then restart the E23.
“That was a frustrating race for me,” Maldonado said afterward, “It’s frustrating as we have finished strongly. My focus is now Barcelona where I’ve delivered very strongly in the past.”
Grosjean continued to his solid run and came in seventh again, earning points for the second time for his team. Grosjean said that he would “happily take seventh places as my birthday gift for myself and the team.” The sentiment was seconded by Deputy Tem Principal Federico Gastaldi who said, “Congratulations to Romain once more for a strong race and thank you to the race team for some great pit work as well as engineering over the weekend to get the car to Romain’s liking so he could deliver today.”
Under the brilliant light of countless fireworks Lotus, and Formula 1, packed up for the long trip back to Europe. After overcoming many challenges during their time in the desert, Lotus leaves with a confirmed sense of confidence and optimism in their cars, their team, and their drivers, all of which proved, once again, to have a tremendous amount of heart.