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Lotus duo look ahead to China

NEWS STORY
02/04/2015

Romain Grosjean looks to the Chinese Grand Prix with a yearning to score his first points of the season.

What are your thoughts on the Shanghai circuit?
Romain Grosjean: It's quite a particular circuit where it is not always easy to find the right setup and the temperature can also be cold. You never know what to expect, except that there will be a monster traffic jam to get to the circuit! I scored my first Formula 1 points at Shanghai in 2012 and scored points again in 2013 so let's hope that's a good omen. Certainly, we're better placed than when we last visited the track.

Looking back over Malaysia how was the weekend overall?
RG: It was hot and humid, especially in the qualifying session. Generally it was a good weekend with strong performance through the qualifying session, however in the race things didn't quite work out the way we wanted. There are still a lot of good positives we take to the next races and when it all comes together it's going to be very nice.

How thirsty were you after the race because of your drinks system not working properly?
RG: My drinks system wasn't working from lap 20 onwards so I was certainly pretty thirsty by the time I got to the end of the race! I soon rehydrated and it wasn't so much of a problem when I got back to the cold of Europe.

What did you need to be able to pass Hulkenberg?
RG: I could have passed him, not in the first few laps of the race when his tyres were as new as mine, but later on - as we did after the first pit stop - but we didn't have 100% performance from the engine which made it difficult to make the overtaking manoeuvre.

How did it feel and what were you thinking during the 360 spin in Sepang?
RG: I had a few choice expressions as it was quite a high speed 360 and not quite in the place where you want it to happen. I thought it looked pretty good when I saw it afterwards - perhaps my ice racing in the winter helped me here!

Do you think the car has good potential for China?
RG: Shanghai is always quite a particular race track so it's quite difficult to predict. It's often pretty cold and the front is the limitation of the car as you look to avoid understeer. I think we have a lot of tools at our disposal to try to make our car work well and I'm sure we'll have a good race.

You'll go from probably one of the hottest races to likely one of the coldest - does this affect you as a driver?
RG: It's not so much the change in temperature than the jet lag you get in the early part of the season from flying to different countries. We've seen that China can be pretty cold and drizzly in the past and you don't get to see the sun there too many times. The weather's the same for everyone and you're not thinking about it too much when you're in the car; you're just thinking about how to go faster.

Do you think there's potential to have a number of different race winners in 2015, now we've seen two different drivers win the first two races?
RG: It was good to see Ferrari win in Malaysia and I think it was good for Formula 1. They worked well in Malaysia and I think they'll be a force in the hot races. I think China should play more to the Mercedes but we'll be fighting to do our best and present a challenge too.

China's a back-to-back race with Bahrain - is this a tiring format / are there any special considerations with a back-to-back race combo?
RG: With my experience, I've got a good flight strategy between the two events. It's actually going to be my birthday in Bahrain; I'm getting older but I should be in a good mood!

Pastor Maldonado looks ahead to the third race of the season at China's challenging Shanghai International Circuit where he hopes to be able to cause a surprise or two.

Looking back over Malaysia how was the weekend overall?
Pastor Maldonado: It was very good for the team that we are in a position to fight for points on a different track. It was very hot and in those conditions the car didn't look bad. During the race, even with the damage we had from the floor after the contact from Valtteri Bottas in the first corner, our pace was very consistent. We had a couple of small reliability issues but the team's working very hard on this, and we expect to have these resolved by China. I'm looking forward to getting out in action in Shanghai and hoping for a clean weekend when we should be able to get some points.

How frustrating was the race for you last time out after that first corner puncture?
PM: It was frustrating, especially as by the time I'd caught up with the cars ahead we'd developed an issue with the brakes so it was difficult to attack! It's racing. I've been a bit unlucky, especially in the first corners of the first two races but on the other hand we have a car which is more competitive and this says that we can fight for points through the season. The potential of the car is there, we just need to put everything together and the results will come soon.

What do you need to do to emerge through the first corner in Shanghai?
PM: The first corner of a Grand Prix is always thrilling as you have to balance the opportunities to make up places with the risk of losing them. Certainly in the first two races this season I've been the victim of other drivers' incidents and that's racing sometimes. The first corners in Shanghai are quite interesting as you've got a decent run down to the right-hander that is turn one, but that flows straight into the tightening turn two so it can get pretty busy!

What are your thoughts on Shanghai as a circuit?
PM: Shanghai is a very technical circuit with one of the longest straights of the season so it will be good to see how high a top speed we can get as we've been pretty strong through the speed traps so far this season. There is a mix of fast and medium speed corners where we need good downforce and overall it is a challenging track which I like, so I'm looking forward to racing there.

Do you think the car has good potential for China?
PM: I think we should be in a similar position to that we've been in for the first and second race, so fighting for the top ten in qualifying and then in the race. Let's see what the track conditions are like, the weather, how the car feels and how good a set-up we can get. I'm confident we should be fighting for good places.

You'll go from probably one of the hottest races to likely one of the coldest - does this affect you as a driver?
PM: It doesn't affect you so much as a driver as you train to be fit and race ready no matter what the conditions. It has more of an effect on the car, especially if it's cold as making the tyres work and getting them into their operating window can be a challenge. It's true that we've struggled in this area in the past, but it's something that the team have been focusing on so let's see how we are when we get out on track.

China's a back-to-back race with Bahrain - is this a tiring format and are there any special considerations with a back-to-back race combo?
PM: Honestly, I prefer it when we have races like this as you are focused as it actually cuts down on the overall amount of travelling you have to do as you go straight from one destination to the next rather than flying home and then back out like we saw with Australia and Malaysia having a week between them. After Bahrain we get a bit of a break to recover, get some training and spend some time with the family before the European season begins.

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