Both Lotus Renault GP cars qualified in the top ten ahead of tomorrow's Canadian Grand Prix as the team bounced back from a nightmare qualifying in Monaco. Nick Heidfeld lines up ninth on the grid after outqualifying teammate Vitaly Petrov by just 0.023sec, despite carrying a wet set-up as the paddock faces uncertainty over tomorrow's racing conditions.
"Nick and Vitaly are carrying different levels of downforce," confirmed Renault chief mechanic Alan Permane. "When it rains, we're only allowed to change the cooling of the cars. Nick will carry more downforce than Vitaly tomorrow and, depending on the weather, this could be a very strong position to be in."
Heidfeld, who had to go out again at the end of the second qualifying session to fend off the Force India of Paul di Resta, was "extremely happy" with his performance.
"We made some minor adjustments with the car today and certainly got what we could have done from it," said the German veteran. "I'm also happier with how I'm driving on the super-soft tires; yesterday I was not satisfied but today I really got used to them, and I think that showed through my lap times. Obviously you always want to be higher up than P9 but being in the top 10 is satisfying and we will try to improve on this tomorrow by securing a good pace and gaining some places."
Petrov admitted to being caught out by the lower track temperature, but was satisfied just have delivered a better performance than two weeks ago.
"The track temperatures were much lower than yesterday and it was very difficult to warm-up the tires properly throughout qualifying," he said. "As a result, I was lacking grip out there and I lost a bit of time during my quickest lap."
But the Russian is hopeful that Canada's typically changeable race conditions could play into his hands in tomorrow's race.
"Montreal is almost always a crazy race and the safety car is often a part of it," he added. "Also, the weather forecast is looking unsettled so we can expect anything. As a result, tomorrow will be a case of adapting ourselves to the conditions and taking every single opportunity."