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Lotus’ Australian Grand Prix Double-Retirement Is Actually a Positive Result

On Sunday, Pastor Maldonado pulled off the circuit just 29 laps into the Australian Grand Prix. Fourteen laps later, his Lotus teammate, Romain Grosjean, joined him in retirement from the first Formula One race of the season. Strangely, in the new, hybrid-power unit (not engine) world of F1, this double-retirement actually represents a positive result for the team. There was concern the Lotus cars may not make it to the starting grid even before the two drivers combined for only 33 laps—and zero competitive times—in the three free practice sessions in Melbourne. The Saturday qualifying session did nothing to allay those fears. Grosjean managed only six laps, the quickest of which was nearly two seconds slower than any othe...

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