Lotus Renault GP blasted from the back of the grid to a points finish as Nick Heidfeld took advantage of his stash of fresh tyres and a polished performance to finish eighth today. Team mate Vitaly Petrov, who started from 6th on the grid, finished the race just outside the points in 11th place.
Vitaly Petrov, P11, R31-03
“I am naturally disappointed not to make better use of my grid position and not pick up some points. It seems that my qualifying position had little effect for the race today, so we need to analyse in detail exactly why that happened. I managed to start ok and move up a position into fifth, but it was then difficult to get to the leading pack, which is where we want to be. But, this is one result and one result only and I want to put things right in Monaco, where qualifying will be extremely important. Of that there is little doubt. At least as a team we picked up some more points with Nick, so we must take the positives and move forwards.”
Nick Heidfeld, P8, R31-04
“I’m satisfied with eighth after starting from last position. Just like in Turkey, with one or two laps more I could have gained one or two more positions from the two Mercedes, but it’s still a good result if you look at where I started and everything that happened to the car over this weekend. I had a good start then I had to fight through the field with many overtaking moves so it was good fun for me behind the wheel. It’s always encouraging to put in a strong performance, and I’m more happy and relaxed heading to Monaco.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal and Managing Director: “I think frustrated is the right word to describe Vitaly’s result, because yesterday he could have been even faster on his qualifying lap. And then today, even when he was in a promising position at sixth on the grid, he dropped down some places, which was not what we expected. On the other hand, we are happy for Nick who came from the back of the grid to finish in eighth. He was chasing both Mercedes in the final lap, and he almost finished ahead of Nico (Rosberg), so all in all he had a good race.”
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: “Our strategy with Nick paid off. We decided to run the prime tyre first, the hard tyre which we ran for 21 laps which was our target, then we had three relatively short sprints on brand new options. Nick was a little bit unlucky as one more lap he would have had both Mercedes. Unfortunately Vitaly didn’t have a great race. His first stint was very good and he was pulling away from the cars behind, but then he seemed to struggle on his second and third sets of tyres so we have to investigate and understand what went wrong for him. Our pit stops weren’t as slick as they should have been today, so ultimately we could have done a better job.”
Riccardo Penteado, LRGP Engine Support Leader, Renault Sport F1: “A great result for Nick. We’re seeing the result of the tyre degradation quite obviously here – Vitaly started three of the four stints on used tyres, so unfortunately just missed out on the points in 11th while Nick was on new sets after every pit stop. What we are seeing this year is that the extra pit stops allied with the use of the DRS and KERS are having a big effect on fuel consumption, so there is a lot of extra strategy about when to use certain settings and maps. We tried to give Nick as much power as we could without sacrificing performance and having too much fuel in the end – it worked pretty well, Nick did a really good job and was even close to taking another place.“