Vitaly Petrov, Nick Heidfeld, Shanghai, 2011

Renault: Points salvaged after poor qualifying

2011 Chinese GP team review

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The Renaults lined up tenth and 16th after Petrov’s engine problem in qualifying.

But the Russian driver brought his car home in the points in the race.

Nick HeidfeldVitaly Petrov
Qualifying position1610
Qualifying time comparison (Q2)1’36.611 (+1.462)1’35.149
Race position129
Pit stops22

Renault drivers’ lap times throughout the race:

Nick Heidfeld114.879106.643106.235106.165106.096105.754106.209106.677106.783105.199105.216105.089104.915105.114105.85106.815106.459110.899121.598102.414102.889102.691102.923103.034103.204103.673103.045103.111104.385108.749120.937102.769103.625103.454103.349103.299103.313103.605103.249103.379102.851103.943105.151103.199102.661102.829102.842102.683102.662102.526102.406102.693103.03103.21104.031110.556
Vitaly Petrov113.553106.671106.131106.442105.834105.649105.281105.18104.835105.267105.154104.827105.342105.98106.444106.048110.97122.344103.618103.381103.424103.355103.665103.106103.701103.444103.279103.786104.74104.988103.339102.928104.057104.862103.603103.282109.222120.987101.97103.21103.087102.916102.385103.103104.687103.413101.635101.387101.416101.261102.027102.618103.366102.508102.957102.965

Nick Heidfeld

Crashed in both the first two practice sessions, damaging the front of the car twice.

Renault tried to get both their cars through Q2 using just one set of soft tyres, to save some for the race, but their tactics backfired for Heidfeld.

He already embarked on a lap when the session was red-flagged due to his team mate’s engine problem. A late run in traffic was only good enough for 16th.

Heidfeld moved up to 14th at the start, then passed Sebastien Buemi for 13th.

However his attempts to move up the field were hindered by a malfunctioning KInetic Energy Recovery System: “After a few laps I started having problems with the KERS and couldn?t use the full power all the time, which made overtaking and defending quite difficult.

“I think our pace in the second stint on the soft tyre was not too bad, but it was still hard to attack the cars ahead of me. That?s why we made an early stop for hard tyres in the hope that we could get some clean air and jump the cars ahead of me.

“Unfortunately [Sergio] Perez and [Adrian] Sutil stopped on the same lap, and it meant I couldn?t really show our pace in the final stint.”

Perez collided with him later in the race but Heidfeld continued to finish 12th.

Nick Heidfeld 2011 form guide

Vitaly Petrov, Nick Heidfeld, Shanghai, 2011
Vitaly Petrov, Nick Heidfeld, Shanghai, 2011

Vitaly Petrov

An air supply problem on Petrov’s engine caused it to cut out after his single flying lap in Q2.

His lap time was good enough to get him into Q3, but unable to set a further time he started the race tenth.

Petrov’s KERS worked fine during the race. He said afterwards: “KERS saved my life on Sunday.

“It saved my position a few times during the race plus it enabled me to do some overtaking.”

He slipped back to 12th at the start but passed Alguersuari – the Renaults enjoying the highest straight line speeds of over 322kph (200mph).

Later in the race he passed his team mate, Kamui Kobayashi and Paul di Resta to secure eighth place.

Team principal Eric Boullier said the team would revise its approach to strategy following the race: “Part of the reason was that overtaking was not as easy as we thought it would be, even with the DRS.

“Also, we need to review our strategy because it wasn?t easy to make the calls today and it?s clear you need to switch tyres at exactly the right moment.”

Vitaly Petrov 2011 form guide

2011 Chinese Grand Prix

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Image ?? Renault/LAT

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Keith Collantine
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15 comments on “Renault: Points salvaged after poor qualifying”

  1. Was a little disappointed with the Renaults after their recent podiums. Given the variety of strategies and the ability to pass in China, it just seems to me that their pace was lacking and their strategy was wrong.

    Still, good qualy performance from Vitaly, he’s come on strong this year.

    1. it just seems to me that their pace was lacking and their strategy was wrong.

      Yeah, they never really matched the top teams.

    2. But most of the damage was done in Qualifying. But as Petrov rightly states, a better strategy could have got them further on Sunday.

      1. Exactly. Having the fastest car doesn’t count for much on these tyres and the strategy required to use them.

  2. Good that playing chicken with the clock during Q2 backfired on them. I hate when teams do that and it’s bound to fail most of the times.

    1. The only team it seems to work out for regularly is Red Bull, and it even backfired for them with Webber this time. I agree that it’s annoying, but it does often make for an exciting end to qualifying.

  3. Yet another race where we couldn’t say “what would Kubica have done” because the same problems would have hit him too. Might have got 10th maybe.

    In fact, I might start a thread about this.

  4. Nice midfilder and good team mates. but I don’t want them to harm Ferrari :P

    1. I do want them (Renault) to come back from this past weekend to where they were in the first two races, and harm Merc…or at least MS…NR is slowly becoming my new hero…sorry folks, I’m just not an MS fan…never have been…and actually, I’m not sorry…was glad to see FA ahead of MS in the end…ie. MS’s old team ahead of him…

  5. dyslexicbunny
    18th April 2011, 18:28

    Typo: Later in the race he passed his team mate, Kamui Kobayashi and Paul di Resta to secure eighth place. But he finished 9th. Doh!

  6. A decent weekend considering the problems both drivers had before the race. Ok, Heidfled has no one to blame but himself using 3 wings on Friday but Petrov did well.

  7. I think Petrov could maybe have done a little bit better, but will have to be satisfied with a points finish i suppose. Heidfeld can write China off as a bad job and move on – no harm done.

  8. Renault were rather dissapointing this weekend. Petrov performed reasonably well, but not great in comparison to the first two races. After practice Heidfeld was pretty unlucky in quali and in the race. I guess after qualifying we were never going to see just how well Renault may have performed, they probably would have finished around 5th or 6th close to Ferrari.

    1. Yeah, the qualifying problems make it really difficult to know what their real performance may have otherwise been. If Petrov’s car hadn’t stopped on track I feel like Heidfeld would’ve made it to Q3, and they both may have started around 6th, 7th, 8th.

  9. Difficult weekend, but their pace is still good enough to get some points. Last year they were pretty good in Turkey, let’s see how well they do this year. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Petrov ahead of Alonso again, as he has pace and consistency, while Alonso seems to be unhappy in the car due to lack of speed and driveability of his machine.

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