Petrov leaving Renault pits
May 21 (F1plus Team).- It definitely was an interesting “pole position” day for everyone, and Renault pretty much had a lot to do with it.
Mark Webber and the Red Bull just did what they do: dominate. So they scored the first and second best times to start on first row.
However, it was an exciting session. Pastor Maldonado surprised everyone and finishing in an encouraging 9th for his Williams team, which represents the best results so far this year for his team, either in race or qualification.
At Renault, things were a little bit more binary, if we can say that. Nick Heidfeld’s car caught fire in the last practice session (FP3) because of a crack in the right exhaust. The German had to jump out of the car as flames were growing alarmingly.
Nick’s car could not be repaired in time for qualifying but will be ready for tomorrow’s race; hence he will start the race from the back of the grid. His engine had to be changed, so at least he will have a fresh power source.
The other side of the coin was on the hands of Vitaly Petrov. The Russian was able to achieve a very rewarding 6th best mark on the time sheet.
With Petrov, Renault has a good possibility of reaching another podium, if able to go past Button, Alonso and Hamilton; not an easy task.
“We have got to be happy with the result. The team made a big improvement today, and the result of my car reflects that. Things felt good, the balance of the car was fine and I was able to put in a fast time in Q3 to ensure that we got the car in a good position on the grid. I knew what we had to do today, and did it so I am pleased and looking forward to tomorrow. It should be another action packed race and strategy will be very important.”
“It was a challenging day, and there was not much more we could have done after the exhaust problem this morning. There was a small hole in the right exhaust and then it overheated. Then, when I heard a strange noise, the power cut out and there were flames so I had to stop. Since then, the team worked flat out to try and get me out for the qualifying session, but it was not to be. At least I managed to get a couple of laps on the hard tyres today, and during the race tomorrow I will need to push hard to make up some ground and get up the order.”