Lotus sees chance to close on Red Bull in next five F1 grands prix

Lotus technical director Nick Chester feels the team has a chance to close in on Red Bull over Formula 1's next give grands prix

Lotus sees chance to close on Red Bull in next five F1 grands prix

For the first time since the Indian GP in October 2013, Lotus managed to get both cars in the points last time out in Canada, with Pastor Maldonado seventh - his best result for 47 races - and Romain Grosjean 10th.

"There doesn't seem to be anything to strike fear into the team, in fact the next races present us with a good opportunity to move up the order," said Chester.

"Austria should be strong; Silverstone should be good as it's also a power circuit, if a little more of a challenge with some of the high-speed corners, and we went quite well in Barcelona with quite a similar set-up.

"Budapest should be quite fine as we've shown we can deal with low-speed corners well, and traction has been promising.

"Spa and Monza should also be strong with their power demands. We're showing well on all types of track, so we've good confidence for the season ahead."

Lotus has now moved up to fifth in the constructors' championship, and though it is only two points ahead of Sauber and Force India, it has fourth-placed Red Bull in its sights, 31 points ahead.

"Certainly we want to maintain this position and target any improvement we can get," said Chester.

"There's a reasonable gap ahead to fourth, but certainly there's a feeling we have come on a long way in terms of reliability and understanding of our car after what was a big change for us in terms of power-unit supplier for this season.

"We know Red Bull has tremendous resources at its disposal, but we'll be doing everything we can to catch them."

The team looked set for a stronger result in Canada as its drivers both qualified in the top six.

The fact Lotus performed better in qualifying than in the race in Montreal bucked the trend of this season, leaving Chester to appreciate that issues remain.

"We're spending a lot of time analysing our tyre temperatures to see what lessons can be learnt [from Canada]," he said.

"Generally our drivers report an understeery car in qualifying, but a more balanced car in the race, whereas in Canada the feedback was more of a well-balanced car in qualifying but some oversteer in the race.

"It's our task to try to get the optimum for both scenarios.

"Certainly from the Barcelona test onwards we have made a step forward in understanding and optimising the car.

"In Monaco we were able to harness the low-speed corner potential, and we saw some of this in Montreal where we had a particularly good balance.

"It's proving to be quite an easy car to set-up and we're continually making improvements."

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