Lotus deputy boss issues rally cry to team

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Lotus deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi has issued a rally cry ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix next weekend as the team looks to bounce back from a disastrous start to the season.

Due to a number of issues at Enstone, the team missed the opening pre-season test in Jerez and has been on the back foot ever since. In Australia, drivers Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean qualified in the bottom two positions on the grid and both retired from the race whilst outside of the points.

Nevertheless, Gastaldi has issued a statement of intent for the rest of the season in reply to the naysayers that have already written off Lotus’ chances.

“I’d say wait and see what we can really achieve with the E22,” Gastaldi explained. “If you look at it logically, Renault Sport F1 are the reigning world championship winning engine partner, so how is it possible to go from there to nothing? They will deliver the right package to all of us which will enable Lotus F1 Team to be at the front once again.

“We’re a smaller team – we’re not Mercedes or Ferrari or McLaren, but we have enormous pure racing spirit. This team has been around a long time and we have people here from the glory days, who have passed on the philosophy and ethos of the team’s renowned spirit and passion. We are ready to fight!”

Gastaldi is hopeful that the team can continue to progress in Malaysia, and is targeting a return to the front of the field when F1 reaches Europe in May.

“We need to keep learning and if everything goes as we anticipate, in collaboration with Renault Sport F1, then we will be in a position to continue progressing for Bahrain and when the Championship comes back to Europe,” he explained.

The Italian was appointed as deputy team principal earlier this month following Eric Boullier’s exit in January.

Verstappen picks illegal Raikkonen pass as favorite F1 2017 overtake

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Max Verstappen has picked his illegal pass on Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap of the United States Grand Prix as his favorite overtake of the Formula 1 season.

Verstappen was one of F1’s most prolific passers through 2017, making 22 overtaking moves as per Pirelli’s end of year data.

When asked to pick out his favorite in a post-season interview on his official website, Verstappen picked his bold move on Raikkonen at the Circuit of The Americas that sparked controversy when he was penalized for completing the overtake off-track.

The Red Bull driver had charged from 16th on the grid to cross the line third, only for a five-second time penalty to deny him a podium and drop him to fourth in a snap call made before the post-race ceremony.

“Of course, at first your initial reaction is something like: ‘Why? It was a great move.’ But when you look at the rules, it was not correct,” Verstappen said.

“Nothing was by the book that whole weekend. Drivers were getting off track without being penalized for it. But you always need to focus on the positives: it was still a nice race and everyone enjoyed the excitement all the way down to the final lap.

“It’s always nice to be on the podium, but to finish fourth after having started sixteenth, is still a great result.

“It wasn’t as painful as most people thought it was. In the end I made my peace with it.”

Asked if it was his best move of the year, Verstappen said: “Yes, because this year I actually didn’t have that many overtakes.

“With this car you are actually only able to overtake on the straights, which is really not that satisfying compared to last year.”