Romain Grosjean is confident that the Lotus F1 Team will be able to compete with the likes of Williams at this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix after a strong showing in Friday’s practice sessions.

The Frenchman finished seventh-fastest in the sessions’ combined timesheets, splitting the Williams duo, while teammate Pastor Maldonado was an equally impressive fifth-fastest behind the pace-setting works Mercedes and Ferrari runners.

“It was quite surprising to be P3 this morning, and this afternoon confirmed we are in a good shape, with P5 and P7,” he said at the end of Friday’s practice sessions at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

“The car feels great, Monaco was a step forward and here is much more in our direction, so there are a lot of positives today to try and get a good result tomorrow. I think realistically we can try and give some hard time to Williams, if not beat them. I’m sure there will be four cars quicker than us and if we can be close to the Williams or fight them that’d be pretty good.”

A factor aiding the Enstone team’s hopes is its Mercedes power units, which have benefited from the Montreal circuit’s long straights that place a premium on horsepower.

“It’s a huge difference,” he added. “Last year [with the Renault power unit] was one of the worst places for us, it was really inconsistent, so it’s nice this year to enjoy a track that I love so much.”

Teammate Maldonado was equally upbeat and added: “I’m happy with today. We didn’t get the lap I wanted in the morning, but the car felt good for the dry part of the second session. We’ve got good pace on the straights and the car is working well through the slow sections too. I think we can make some extra progress tomorrow and we could be set for a strong weekend.”

Image via Lotus F1 Team

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Geoff Burke

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