Romain Grosjean may have only spent one day behind the wheel of the Lotus E23 Hybrid in Barcelona this week, but the Frenchman made the most of it by finishing as the fastest driver on Sunday.
A best lap time of 1:24.067 saw Grosjean finish ahead of Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat, marking the third day in four that Lotus had ended up on top of the timesheets.
Although he remains cautious about the pace being shown by the rest of the field, Grosjean was pleased with the result and, more importantly, the progress that Lotus had made across the course of the test.
“It was great to get behind the wheel of the E23 once more,” Grosjean said. “Conditions were pretty tricky with quite a bit of wind, especially early on, but the car ran well, meaning we could complete the tests we wanted to – even if I had to modify my lines in the morning because the wind was pushing the car!
“We made some good improvements with the balance and set-up over the course of the day and it felt a lot better after we made changes for the afternoon.
“We completed a very promising mileage and it’s always good to see your name at the top of the timing monitors, even if it is far too early to know what everyone else is doing.”
Since making the switch to Mercedes power units for the 2015 season, Lotus appears to have made a big step forwards in terms of pace and reliability. Technical director Nick Chester was pleased with what had been achieved in Barcelona, but still believes that much more is possible in next week’s final test.
“We’ve enjoyed a solid first test in Barcelona with good reliability and encouraging performance,” Chester said. “The biggest positive we have seen so far is the reliability of the E23 which is enabling us to push along with our assessments and evaluations over the course of 361 laps or 1680km.
“During this test, we’ve completed plenty of laps so we have plenty to be working on over the next three days before we’re back in action here.”
Testing resumes at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Thursday.