The Lotus Renault GP Team was fighting with one hand behind its back after an early bath for Nick Heidfeld whilst Vitaly Petrov put in a gritty performance to take tenth and a point in the German Grand Prix.
Vitaly Petrov, P10, R31-05 “Well, it’s another point gained today, but really we need to analyse exactly why we lost positions out there, and why we didn’t come in to the pits earlier to fight with the group in front. The start was good and I had some decent battles, including with Jenson (Button) and Michael (Schumacher), but the main thing is we need to look at why the likes of Sauber and Force India are finishing higher than us, and correct it as soon as possible. We must now concentrate on Hungary and getting some good points there before the summer break.”
Nick Heidfeld, DNF, R31-04,
“I was squeezed at the start and sandwiched in the second corner. Heading into the third corner Paul di Resta was on the outside. I locked up my front wheels and tried to avoid him but just slid into him as there was nowhere to go. After that I was trying very hard to make up positions and I overtook some cars before I was behind Sébastien Buemi. He blocked the left hand side, as he is allowed to do, but when I went to his right hand side he just moved over on me. He must have known I was there. I had a lot more speed than him and was on my way to pass. He just didn’t give me any room and pushed me on to the grass and after that there was nothing I could do. It was an accident which couldn’t be avoided. It’s never nice being up in the air in one of these cars and it could have been dangerous.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal and Managing Director: “Obviously this is a disappointing day for us. We had a reasonable qualifying yesterday, which was definitely a step forward from Silverstone, and we were looking to launch a strong assault on the points today from P9 and P11. Firstly, Nick was unlucky; after falling back to 22nd position he was ploughing his way through the field and, by the time he moved into 16th place, he was trying to overtake Sebastien (Buemi) but ran out of room and went off-track which cut his race short. Vitaly also had a tough race but stuck it out with a determined drive to come home in P10. We are looking to finish much stronger than we did today but, having said that, one point is better than none and we must now look at how we improve in time for Budapest.”
James Allison, Technical Director: “A disappointing race with Nick out early after a start which meant a very difficult race in any case and Vitaly scoring a point but achieving less than we thought possible and hoped for. It was not really where we hoped to be at the end of the weekend so we have to keep our noses to the grindstone and make the car quicker as that’s what will bring the points. There are a couple of minor revisions to the R31 for Budapest but we have greater changes for the races which follow.”
Ricardo Penteado, LRGP Engine Support Leader, Renault Sport F1: “Getting the right engine settings for the Nürburgring can be tricky on account of the changeable track and ambient conditions. We got a decent balance today and Vitaly drove a good race to score another point, which is very important to keep us in touch with Mercedes in the constructors’ championship. Nick could have scored a good amount of points as well so the accident with Buemi was really unfortunate. We’ve got the Hungaroring in just a week though, which places very different demands on the engine, so we’re going to put all our efforts into this to finish the first part of the season on a high.”