Lotus scores first points of 2014 with Grosjean in eighth

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After a troublesome start to the 2014 season, Lotus F1 Team has finally found its feet and scored its first points of the year at today’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Romain Grosjean brought his car home in eighth place to score four points, getting both himself and the team on the scoreboard for the first time this year.

The Frenchman started the race in fifth place after a fine display in qualifying yesterday. However, the race pace of the E22 was still giving the team some trouble, and he was unable to hold off Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen after the first round of stops.

However, he still managed to bring the car home in one piece in eighth place ahead of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg. The result marked his first top ten finish since last year’s United States Grand Prix in Austin, where he finished second.

It wasn’t all good news for Lotus, though, as Pastor Maldonado’s poor start to the year continued. The Venezuelan driver crashed out during qualifying yesterday, and started the race from last position. However, when trying to pass Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson in the opening few laps, he made a rash move that saw the two make contact.

The stewards did not look kindly on Maldonado’s manoeuvre through turn seven, and handed him a five second stop-go penalty. After the race, they also confirmed that he had been given one penalty point for his FIA superlicense. Maldonado eventually finished in 15th place.

Although the result is still a far cry from the team’s race winning escapades of 2012 and 2013, it is still an important one for the staff at Enstone. Finally, after a winter full of car problems and financial uncertainty, Lotus can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
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Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force endured yet another spectacular motor explosion – his third in the NHRA’s first three national event races – during Friday’s qualifying at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s the kind of consistency the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ could do without.

The 68-year-old Force came to Gainesville hoping to break the jinx that saw him endure explosions in both the season-opening Winternationals and the second race of the season in Phoenix.

Both motor explosions sent Force to the hospital for examination before he returned to the race track.

Friday, even though the motor in his Chevrolet Camaro blew up again (in the second round of qualifying), at least this time, Force didn’t wind up in the hospital.

He did have his right hand bandaged from a cut suffered in the explosion, but did not have to go to the hospital this time.

He even joked about not having to add yet another ambulance bill to the nearest Gainesville hospital.

But the explosion still proved costly.

“That was another body and that hurts the financial (bottomline),” Force said. “I was out $500,000 to $600,000, and now we are probably out $800,000, going on a million. In drag racing, you have to be tough.”

He ended the day qualifying 14th, not a very comfortable position with two more rounds of qualifying set for Saturday.

Force continues to be mystified why the motors keep exploding.

“I really thought we had it, I thought we were there,” Force said. “In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

Force will attempt to improve his qualifying spot during Saturday’s final two rounds to make Sunday’s eliminations.

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