With ten more points to his name in Montreal, Lotus Renault Grand Prix Team driver Vitaly Petrov is looking to Valencia to improve upon his seventh position in the Drivers’ Standings. The Russian's target for the coming races is very clear: points, points and more points.
Sitting nicely in the Drivers’ Standings after 10 more points in Montreal – were you happy with your race there? "I would have to say 50/50. We were expecting to be a little bit higher in qualifying, but I think we had some bad luck during the session so our performance was lower than hoped for. The race itself was not easy because both Nick and I were on different car set-ups. I had less downforce in my set-up, and I think that if I’d had more (downforce) I would have had a stronger race. Personally, I think I could have pitted a little earlier so strategically we could maybe have done it even better I think, but this is only my personal opinion. We finished fifth, took some points from the race but I know we did not fully capitalise on the situation."
First Monaco, then Montreal – both races were eventful for different reasons. Does the unpredictability keep you challenged? "Yes, it does, and these races add to your experience as a driver. It is a challenging season with a variety of circuits and, as a team, we are really amongst it and fighting for the high-end points. The season is a long one, but we need to focus, work hard and above all have the right strategy. We’ve been spot on most of the time in this area this season and we need to keep up the good work. Strategy, strategy, strategy!"
You finished 14th at the European Grand Prix last year – what’s your impression of the track? "It’s the third consecutive street circuit race, so we are getting used to these types of venues! I actually have very good memories of racing in Valencia because I won here three times when competing in the GP2 series. I haven’t made my mark here yet in Formula 1 but this year I’m much more prepared."
Seven races into the season, are you satisfied with how things have gone? "I think we can do much, much more. I know I’ve said that before but I really believe we can. We’ve had good results, but together we can achieve greater things. Sometimes I’ve made mistakes, sometimes our pit stops could have been improved, but generally I think we can take it up a level. We need to minimise the mistakes, and the points will keep on coming."
Four more races until the summer break – what is your target for these? "My target for the coming races is points, points and more points. It would be much better to take our summer break in the knowledge that we had scored some well-deserved points in the lead-up to it. Valencia’s a circuit I know very well so I think I have an advantage going into the race. I’m feeling pretty good heading into the next four events."