LRGP suffered a tough Korean Grand Prix in Yeongam with an early exit for Vitaly and a hard-fought battle to gain a couple of places from a lowly starting position for Bruno. No points means the team will be moving on quickly to the first ever Indian GP in two weeks time.
Vitaly out-braked himself and made race -ending contact with Michael Schumacher whilst fighting for position with Fernando Alonso. Bruno employed a strategy which attempted to stretch out the maximum from the super soft tyres at the end of the race, but ultimately suffered from rapidly increasing tyre degradation.
• Vitaly stopped on lap 14, using a super soft, super soft strategy before his lap 16 exit.
• Bruno stopped on laps 13 and 30, using a soft, soft, super soft strategy.
• At the end of the first lap, Vitaly was in eighth position and Bruno 19th.
• Vitaly has been penalised five grid positions for the forthcoming Indian Grand Prix for the contact with Michael Schumacher.
Bruno Senna, P13, R31-04:
“It was far from the best race I’ve had. I got a bad start, and from then on it was always going to be an uphill battle. Being stuck behind a number of other cars again restricted my ability to get points today; I don’t feel there were any specific weaknesses in my car itself but I was just unable to progress much from where I was. We will now see what we can do to better the situation, and come out all guns blazing in India. That’s a culture I’ve not experienced before and a race I’m looking forward to.”
Vitaly Petrov, DNF, R31-06:
“I tried to defend my position from Fernando but I was in the braking zone on the dirty side of the track which meant I locked my wheels and hit Michael. I was focused on my battle with Fernando as there was potential for me to be ahead of him. We both braked too late as he missed the corner too. Up until that point I was happy with our strategy and how the race was going. I apologise to Michael, it was not his fault, it was absolutely my fault – once my wheels were locked there was nothing I could do about it. But that’s racing and tomorrow is another day.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal and Managing Director:
“Again, I have mixed feelings coming away from this race. If I look at the weekend as a whole, we showed some good pace but perhaps did not capitalise on this. It was disappointing for Bruno not to qualify higher than he did yesterday and as a result the race was always going to be tough. Vitaly had a healthy grid position and was looking good until his mistake cost him on lap 16. If he had carried on as he did during the first stint of race – when he was on super soft (option) tyres – then we could have expected him to finish at least eighth or maybe seventh. Unfortunately it was not to be, but we’ll now look ahead to an exciting fixture in two weeks’ time – the first ever Indian Grand Prix.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“A disappointing day, especially with a car which was showing very good pace. To be fighting with Michael and Fernando after the first pit stop was very encouraging. Vitaly crashed into Michael after locking up on the dirty side of the track, which unfortunately put them both out of the race. Bruno had a difficult race. He started quite a way back. We took a bit of a risk to use the super soft (option) tyre very early to try to gain positions. It didn’t work and basically he stayed where he started. We did ask a lot of the soft tyres to do nearly half a race and it didn’t work, but equally it didn’t cost us anything. Looking at the positives, there is no doubt that the car was working very well with Vitaly and we have more data going forwards.”
Ricardo Penteado, LRGP Engine Support Leader, Renault Sport F1:
“Engine-wise, we’ve worked on giving driveability through the twisty section of the track with good top speed for the long straights this weekend. The performance has been reasonable, but ultimately Bruno’s 13th position doesn’t pay justice to the pace of the car this weekend. Vitaly’s qualifying was again strong and a small mistake meant he couldn’t convert it into points. We’re going to go over how we can maximise all elements of the car now and hopefully get back to form for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in two weeks.”