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Lotus sets sights on Williams

Lotus technical director Nick Chester says his team's goal is to close in on Williams after showing promising pace in the Australian Grand Prix.

Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 E23
Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 E23 leads team mate Pastor Maldonado, Lotus F1 E23 on the formation lap
Start: trouble for Pastor Maldonado, Lotus F1 Team
Pastor Maldonado, Lotus F1 E23 crashed out at the start of the race
Pastor Maldonado, Lotus F1 Team
Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 E23
Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 E23 in the pits

Although both Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean retired from the race on the opening lap, the duo had looked strong up until Sunday.

Both Grosjean and Maldonado made it into Q3, with the Frenchman in eighth, one place ahead of the Venezuelan.

"We are reasonably happy," said Chester of the car's performance.

"We look like we could be regular Q3 contenders but there is more that we want to be doing such as closing the gap to Williams and moving away more from the group behind us.

"The performance of the car was pretty good from the onset: the drivers were happy, the car was good to drive and we were able to work the tyres quite well.

"Into Saturday, the performance was definitely there as we got both cars into Q3."

Maldonado retired after contact on the opening lap, while Grosjean had to drive into the pits straight away following a problem with his power unit.

Chester believes the team could have finished in the top five.

"If we didn't experience the unfortunate crash and the charge air system leak, we could probably have been looking at fifth and sixth positions.

"Both drivers had qualified ahead of Felipe Nasr who ended the race fifth and our long run performance on Friday looked good so there is no reason why our drivers could not have achieved that."

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