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F1 NEWS 

Lotus celebrates 'best performance' yet

Lotus hails 'best performance ever'Heikki Kovalainen hailed his Lotus team's performance as its best ever after beating some established teams on pure pace in China.

Kovalainen finished in 16th position, ahead of the Sauber of rookie Sergio Perez and fellow F1 debutant Pastor Maldonado in the Williams.

Although it was not the best position by a Lotus in a race, Kovalainen admitted it had definitely been the most competitive outing.

"That is our best ever performance," the Finn said. "It's not the highest place we've had but today we beat two midfield cars in a straight fight so I am very happy, with my performance and the performance of the whole team.

"We knew we would struggle in the cool conditions yesterday but today the temperatures rose and we expected to be able to put in the sort of race that would do justice to the pace that is in the car.

"We will keep working hard to improve the car's behaviour in the cooler conditions and we can only get better from here."

The team's technical chief Mike Gascoyne was equally happy with the performance of his squad, after being lapped just once.

"It is very satisfying to have beaten two other midfield teams on track on pace and strategy and to be able to show that we have bridged the gap to the established teams. Both drivers made a good start and with the higher track temperatures we knew our race pace would be good, and so it proved.

"With the tyre degradation we were able to stick to two stops, which was always our plan and that allowed us to jump a couple of people, giving us our strongest race in F1. Additionally, we were only lapped once, right towards the end of the race, so I am very proud of the whole team today."

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