May 10 (F1plus Team).- In a race full of pit stops, Lotus Renault moved up in the standing positions with Heidfeld ending in 7th and Petrov in 8th, both with 21 points. Also, the team now occupies the 4th position in the constructor’s championship with 42 units, ahead of Mercedes GP with 25.
Nick Heidfeld (above) and Vitaly Petrov (below) at the Turkish GP starting grid.
Both drivers adopted a four-stop strategy, going with soft / hard / hard / hard / soft compounds, five different tyre sets: certainly, this new season definitely looks different. Also, the drivers impression is that circumstances did not aligned in their favor, and that they could have gotten more out of the car and finish with better positions.
Vitaly Petrov had an interesting race, showing a nice aggressiveness level, proper of a racing driver (Heidfeld probably disagree here), which also happens to entertain the fans. Also, when too eager, things might not go as wished and an early contact with Schumacher delayed the Russians’ advance.
Similarly, Nick Heidfeld felt he could have achieved more, being stuck in traffic did not help, but the German could have pushed a little more. All in all, he climbed two spots from his “pole” position.
Heidfeld commented: “I am not totally happy with the race as I was stuck in traffic for quite a while, overtaking was difficult and Vitaly made contact with me, but my pace was good, especially at the end of the race when the car was light on the soft tyres.”
Tyre management is becoming more and more the key element of the race. It is not new that tyres contribute greatly to victories, but when you need to apply and calculate the exact replace time, which compound to use, assess track and weather impact, etc. things get complicated.
In this particular, Eric Boullier, the team principal said: “We definitely need to work harder on Fridays to understand the tyre degradation, which will allow us to know where we stand for the rest of the weekend. From here, we will push even more as the result today was not as strong as it could have been – we will be striving to get back into the top six.”
Although the Lotus Renault scored two podiums (3rd) in Australia and Malaysia, since them the team has been mostly fighting in the lower point’s zone. The R31 straight-line speed is one of the best, as shown in Turkey by Petrov who was fifth in that department, but there’s still some room for improvement in corner speed.
James Allison the team’s Technical Director, commented: “In all honesty, I feel satisfied rather than happy with today’s performance - satisfied because our finishing places in the race were stronger than our qualifying positions, but not happy because the gap between us and the cars that finished on the podium was too large. We have more improvements planned for the car and we will be aiming for top six finish or better in the coming races at Barcelona and Monaco.”