A tyre gamble during the first part of qualifying failed to pay off for Romain Grosjean as he was eliminated from the session.
Grosjean hoped to progress through to Q2 without using the option tyres, but the rapid evolution of the track caught him out, leaving him down in 17th place.
“We took a gamble once again to try just one run on the prime tyres in Q1, and although it’s been a successful tactic for us recently it didn’t pay off this time,” he said.
“The times were much tighter than expected and ultimately we made a miscalculation with the cut-off time. It’s easy to look back and think what might have been, but we made the decision together and unfortunately in the end it was the wrong one.”
“It’s tough to overtake here so it’s going to be a long race from seventeenth on the grid. We’ll have to pull off something quite special with the strategy to take anything from there, but of course we’ll analyse the options overnight to see what’s possible. For sure we won’t be leading after the first corner this time, but we’ll do our best.”
Lotus’s trackside operations director, Alan Permane, admitted that such a strategy was a mistake.
“In hindsight we made the wrong call with Romain,” said Permane.
“We expected him to progress quite comfortably through Q1 on the medium tyre and unfortunately this wasn’t the case. Clearly, he’s starting a long way out of position and will need a strong charge through the field to make it into the top ten, but we’re extremely confident that he’ll be able to do so. How far into the points he can progress will depend on the start and our management of the tyres.”