SEPANG, April 10, 2011 (AFP) - Russian Vitaly Petrov played down the drama of his high-speed off-circuit excursion, crash landing and total loss of steering during Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.
Petrov dealing with the heat at Sepang.
The 26-year-old Renault driver, who had finished third in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, said he had made "just a small mistake - which shouldn't have had the consequences that it did".
He veered off the track in the closing stages of the race, lost control, hit a drainage kerb and after an airborne fright landed so hard that the steering column on his car snapped.
Petrov said: "I went wide and the car took off on the kerb, landing hard. Both cars should have been in the points today, but the good news is that we clearly have the pace needed to compete this season. "I am happy for the team as we got another podium, so we can consider this a great start to the season for us."
Teammate German Nick Heidfeld, standing in for the injured Pole Robert Kubica, finished third to claim his first podium for two years.