|Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean power around Malaysia during the 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday, March 29, 2015. — Photo: Lotus F1
In the first two races of the season Lotus have suffered three DNF’s. Romain Grosjean encountered a power failure in Australia and Pastor Maldonado was plagued by a crash in round one and a brake failure in round two. Heading to Shangai next week, Maldonado is confident his team’s technical problems will be relieved.
Maldonado said that Malaysia “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,” he said.
Neither of the Lotus drivers have scored points this year but Maldonado thinks that will change at the third round of the season, too. “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,” he said.
“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.”
At the Chinese Grand Prix last year, Romain Grosjean had a gearbox issue that forced him to retire on lap 28.
|William’s driver Valtteri Bottas. Source: Gallery Hip
Williams Martini Racing driver Valtteri Bottas finished the 2013 Formula One season in 17th place in the driver’s championship, just one spot above his teammate Pastor Maldonado. Certainly not a terrible outing for a rookie in the series. But 2014 was a different story for the Finn, paired with ex-Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, Bottas finished in the top five of the points standings and came close to clinching a race win for Williams on several occasions.
In the first five races of the 2014 season, Bottas had consecutive top ten finishes with the highest being fifth place in both Australia and Spain. His 13 year-F1 veteran teammate had finishes of 20, 7, 7, 15, and 13 in those same five races, with Australia being a DNF due to a first lap crash. Bottas has his lone DNF of the year in the next race, Monte Carlo, due to an engine failure on lap 56.
After the disappointing setback in Monaco, Bottas really set himself apart from the “rest of the pack” and established himself as a firm competitor with the Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. The remaining 13 races on the calendar saw top ten finishes in all but Singapore (13th place finish) for Bottas, eight of those being top five performances. In 2013, Valtteri Bottas had one top ten finish all year which came in the form of a P8 performance in Austin, Texas.
The end of the year tally saw Bottas put up some impressive stats:
- Average start of 6.2
- Average finish of 6.1
- 6 podium finishes
- 98% of the total laps run completed
Along with natural improvement, much of his success can be attributed to Williams’ 2014 chassis design and overall performance. In 2014, the only mechanical failure came in Monte Carlo with an engine failure, making Williams one of the most reliable teams in the sport. Only Force India and McLaren had just as impressive reliability, with one mechanical failure for each.
Even with such an incredible second year in the sport, Bottas isn’t satisfied with his performance just yet, telling reporters he is “expecting a lot from next year.” Williams have already announced prior to the 2014 season ending that both Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas will drive for them in 2015. Bottas shared that the team has “made some very impressive gains this season”, and that he’s confident the team is “moving in the right direction and can continue to be competitive.”
Bottas is just 25 years old, making him one of the younger drivers on the grid, and has all the signs of a long, successful career in front of him. The large improvement from last year is a good sign of things to come for Bottas. With Williams Racing regaining some of their historical success in recent years, the team is a good fit for a championship contending Bottas. 2014 was an inspiring year for the young Finn, and he’ll be looking to build on that and take another shot at the title next year.