• First Barcelona Test - Day Three

Maldonado hails Lotus E23 driveability

ESPN Staff
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Pastor Maldonado says he is excited by the driveability of the Lotus E23 after he topped the third day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Lotus' switch to Mercedes power has seen a marked improvement to this time last year, when it suffered a wretched winter of testing. Maldonado's headline time was set on a super soft tyre but he says the driveability of the E23 - whose predecessor was notoriously erratic in 2014 - was the area he was most happy with on Saturday.

"The most impressive thing of the car is the drivability," Maldonado said. "I think the team has done an excellent job in terms of installation and the new parts. All seems to be working quite well, which is encouraging. From the driving point of view, it's looking quite good.

"There's very good driveability, very good power, very good to work with the [Mercedes] engineers as well. I think it's a good step forward. We can learn more from the car, I think there is a lot to do. It's a completely new car so it's difficult to get to the bottom of everything we need to do. But it's looking quick, which is very important, and it's nice to drive and hopefully we can get better and better."

Maldonado also topped the first day of testing in Barcelona on Thursday and he says the team is now starting to reap the benefits of the hard work from last year's forgettable campaign.

"I'm quite happy because we've been working hard to achieve a good car. We've been work very deep in the big problems we had in the last years and I think there is a clear improvement. For sure it's early days still and we need to work very hard to get to the bottom of the single particulars in the car. We are learning a lot but at the same time having very positive days, especially for the driveability, we are quite surprised everything with the car is running quite good."

Maldonado hands the car over to team-mate Romain Grosjean on Sunday and he says he was happy with his final day of the week, which included an attempt at a race simulation.

"I was more happy with the soft tyres. But we tried the different compounds to get some more data for the car and for the team. We are still learning the car and that's still very important for us to put mileage, we tried a race simulation as well. It was all looking quite good, a very consistent car which is important."

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