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Lotus with the best time: & # 34; We still have to improve & # 34;

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Lotus with best time on the first day of testing in Barcelona
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D as has not existed for a long time . A lotus first. And pastor Maldonado in the cockpit. The Venezuelan turned the fastest lap of the day at the place where he won his only Grand Prix in 2012. Maldonado lapped the Barcelona circuit in a time of 1.25.011 minutes and thus also undercut last year's pole position of 1.25.232 minutes - driven by Lewis Hamilton.

Maldonado sets the best time on 'soft'

The Lotus driver was on his fastest lap with 'soft' tires. Kimi Räikkönen achieved the second best time of 1.25.187 minutes on medium tires. 'They are at least a second and a half slower than the soft mixture I had,' Maldonado puts into perspective. The 2012 Barcelona winner also said: 'I was on the road with a lot of fuel. We always did 10 to 12 lap stints.'

The test day was interrupted by two breakdowns in the morning and a time-consuming clutch change. 'In the morning we had sensor problems,' reveals Maldonado. The sensors gave an alarm. The engine then switched off automatically. 'After consulting with Mercedes, we increased the limits in this area,' explains chief engineer Alan Permane. As a new Mercedes customer, Lotus is still conservative when it comes to the settings.

2015 gear ratio for the first time

The mood at lotus is good. Land is finally in sight again. 'I have confidence in the car again. It's much more predictable. And compared to last year we get to drive a lot more. It's a huge step forward. I have a much better feeling now,' said Maldonado with a sigh of relief. But he also puts pressure on his engineers: 'The day was good, but not good enough. We still have to improve a few details on the car. Over the next few days, new parts will be added all the time. Fortunately, we understand this car and know where to start For example, how we can make better use of the power of the Mercedes engine. '

Permane confirms his driver's assessment. 'Since Jerez we have brought a few new things to the car. New brake drums front and rear, modifications to the front wing and underbody. The air outlets in the rear were more closed than in the first test. And this is the first time we're driving with the 2015 gear ratio. In Jerez we were still with the courses from last yearon road. That didn't match the performance curve of the Mercedes engine. 'This year, the teams are not allowed to change gear ratios anymore. What is chosen now has to stay in the car all year round.

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