MONZA, Sept 11, 2011 (AFP) - Bruno Senna breathed a sigh of relief on Sunday when he scored his first Formula One points for Renault in the Italian Grand Prix.
The 27-year-old Brazilian nephew of the legendary three-times champion Ayrton Senna finished ninth in his second outing for the team after replacing German Nick Heidfeld last month.
Senna started 10th, lost places at the start and then recovered to deliver a solid result for the team. "I'm happy to score my first F1 points today (Sunday), especially as it was only my second race for the team," he said.
"Although I started 10th, it was not been an easy job to finish ninth. We suffered some bad luck in the first corner -- everybody was cutting the chicane which forced me to drive on the outside and in the process I lost all the places I had fought so hard for in qualifying.
"It makes me very happy to know that I am able to put myself in the position of scoring points and also to fight with the guys who have been doing this for a long time.
"The pace of the car was clear for all to see, but I wish the race was just one lap longer because I may have been able to pass Paul (Di Resta) for eighth.
"The team chose a great strategy. The tyre was fast enough where I needed it to be and I am very happy to get my name on the points board. The team did a great job and I am really looking forward to Singapore."
Senna's Renault team-mate Russian Vitaly Petrov - who wore a black helmet out of respect for the Lokotmotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey players killed in a plane crash earlier this week - was eliminated from the race by the first corner collision.
"Naturally I am very disappointed with what happened today," he said.
"I had a reasonable start and, as I was heading into the first chicane, (Italian) Vitantonio Liuzzi's Hispania car came from nowhere and hit me big time, which brought my race to an end. "There's nothing I could have done to avoid this.. I'm happy not to be injured, as the impact was quite strong and it could have been a nasty accident."