Renault’s latest upgrade gives Kubica a shot at victory (Renault race review)

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Robert Kubica was very happy with Renault’s F-duct upgrade and finished on the podium for the third time this year.

Without minor problems in qualifying and the race this was a Grand Prix Renault could have won.

Team mate Vitaly Petrov joined him in the points despite a costly crash in qualifying that left him on the back row.

Robert Kubica Vitaly Petrov
Qualifying position 3 23
Qualifying time comparison (None) Team mate no time
Race position 3 9
Average race lap 2’01.540 (-0.463) 2’02.003
Laps 44/44 44/44
Pit stops 2 2

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Robert Kubica

Renault said their new F-duct worked exactly as expected from the first moment they used it in practice. Kubica qualified third and could have been on the front had a fuel pick-up problem not delayed him in Q3.

As the rain started to fall at the start of the race Kubica made a mistake at Eau Rouge, allowing Jenson Button by into second place. Sebastian Vettel also passed him at the restart, but after the pair collided Kubica was back in second.

He apologised to the team for losing that place after hitting his pit crew during his final pit stop:

I don’t think anyone thought we could be so competitive here. We were in the top five in all conditions in every single session. Today we have seen good pace.

Unfortunately we lost second place due to my mistake. I got distracted in the pit lane. In order to change tyres we have to adjust the front wing, change some settings on the steering wheel. I couldn’t do it on the race track because it was so slippery, so I had to do it in the pit lane before stopping and unfortunately there wasn’t enough time and when I managed to change everything it was quite late to brake and I locked the front wheels and unfortunately I didn’t manage to get into my pit box. I went wide, went to the right, hit some guys, mechanics but fortunately they are fine and lost second place there.

It was a very tricky race but we’ve seen very good pace. Started third, managed to finish third, of course thanks to some bad luck and good luck, but it was a good place.
Robert Kubica

Compare Robert Kubica’s form against his team mate in 2010

Vitaly Petrov

Qualified last after crashing in Q1 by getting onto a wet kerb at turn nine – a repeat of a mistake he made in Spain earlier this year. Pedro de la Rosa’s engine change penalty promoted Petrov to 23rd.

Petrov made up for it with a mature, error-free drive through the field to ninth place in difficult conditions. He avoided the trouble at the start to run 11th and put a bold pass on Nico Rosberg around the outside of Les Combes.

Having started on the soft tyres he had to make a pit stop which meant he finished behind the Mercedes drivers in the end.

Compare Vitaly Petrov’s form against his team mate in 2010

2010 Belgian Grand Prix

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    Image (C) Renault/LAT

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    Keith Collantine
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    19 comments on “Renault’s latest upgrade gives Kubica a shot at victory (Renault race review)”

    1. I thought Petrov more than made up for his qualifying mistake with his race day performance. He’s shown that now, at tracks he knows, he can fight for points no matter what. Less mistakes would make his life a lot easier though.

      I don’t think Kubica should beat himself up. Mistakes happen and he still got a podium and if someone had asked him before the weekend if he’d be happy with third he’d probably be pretty pleased.

      1. He just needs to ace a qualifying or two so he can get confidence back up and he’ll be getting good points that back up the over acheiving Kubica’s high scoring halls.

        1. At Hungary he was flying all qualifying (well the entire weekend) which is quite an achievement compared to Robert. I think most rookies have suffered with their qualifying in particular but you’re absolutely right it’s an area he needs to improve on.

    2. Petrov has been stellar, in my opinion. I’ve been very impressed with his doggedness behind the wheel. He has been much more impressive than the highly touted Nico Hulkenberg. Rookie F1 drivers need at least 2 seasons to be evaluated over and to mature into a comfort zone, particularly with the testing ban. It’s all about wheel time in these cars, learning the tracks, and learning the subtleties and nature of the dynamics of the car in all different conditions. GP2 experience helps, but let’s face it…they are not F1 cars…not by a long shot. I believe Petrov has earned his spot on the grid and should flourish for years to come.

      I’ll tell you another rookie who absolutely deserves his spot as well…Kamui Kobayashi. What an exciting driver. Would love to see what he would do in one of the top cars.

    3. Renault have been a different team this year to last year, I wonder how much of that is the loss of Flav and Alonso?

      They’ve been a quiet, heads down team who have just got the hard work done. They’ve introduced upgrades at practically every race, and what’s more every upgrade has actually worked first go – blown diffusers, different wings, f-duct. McLaren must be looking on in envy.

      Team of the year in my opinion.

      1. They laid off a lot of their aero staff a couple of years ago expecting not to need them under the new development restrictions. But they re-hired several before the start of this year, realising they needed them back. They’re clearly doing a first-class job as everything they’ve put on that car has worked.

      2. Agree… other than Red Bull, Renault and Force India have impressed me the most this year.

    4. I agree with everyone’s comments so far :).

      Petrov deserves a second season with Renault next year, it would be a disgrace if they didn’t after giving Nelson Pique JR 2 years, Petrov’s done more in the 1st half of the season than Pique did in nearly 2 years at Renault. FACT!!!

      1. Actually .. Nelson Piquet got the 1st podium for Renault in 2008. Nonetheless, it was a fluke, and I completely agree that Petrov deserves another season.

    5. Their recent upgrades sure seem to have brought them a huge step forward. I wouldn’t be surprised if they overtake Mercedes in the constructor’s by the end of the season.

    6. I’m very dissapointed with Petrov’s pace this season. For this reason, I would cut him.
      BUT… the guy keeps winning me over with those fantastic, brave overtakings.

    7. Kubica made several small mistakes this race, and despite them he was cranking up good times. Awesome to watch! Petrov is getting better and he should be given a second season if he does well in the next few races. Easy on the throttle on those wet chicanes.

    8. I was very disappointed when I found Petrov wiped out in qualifying. Given his Turkish and Hungarian races, and the flashes that showed through in Britain and Germany, I really think he’s exactly where he deserves to be – even if there’s a massive online following that claims he shouldn’t be in the sport. However, qualifying on the back row was an opportunity in disguise because it allowed him the chance to show his stuff, and he did. You can say it’s all because he stayed on the road at the end of the first lap … but isn’t keeping the car on the black bit a driver’s job? I think knifing his way through the field the way he did would be a big plus for him in tersm of keeping his 2011 chances alive.

      1. I think he is a very solid choice for Renault as well.

        Who would not want a driver that can get it into an undeserved position in Qualli? But it is just as good to have a driver getting the car to actually finish quite a bit ahead of where it started, or at least stay where he went off. That’s what Petrov has been showing this year, as well as nice ballsy overtaking and defensive driving.

    9. In case anyone missed Chandhok’s tweet:


      By the way, the bloke Robert ran into at the pitstop is one of my best mates Andy Birch who’s back in Brackley with a PROPER bruise !

    10. love the RK on roberts car. gonna do that to my bridgestones

    11. Is it really going to give him a shot at victory? It might have been the different characteristics of Spa that enables midfield teams to surprise (like Force India last year). So this might have been his only chance this year.

      1. I think this is a turn for Renault. They put a lot of work into the car over the course of the season. Like someone mentioned elsewhere they are a top team as far as progress goes. Every race is an improvement. I hope to see them ahead f Ferrari in the remaining races.

        I was disappointed with the mistakes made by Kubica. He is known for clean and solid drives. In Spa he lost traction giving way to Jenson and Vettel, and then the avoidable mistake in the pits. The again everyone made mistakes. Hamilton’s being the most spectacular one. I was watching the corner of the screen in hope of seeing Kubica take the lead.

    12. Nice one Kubica.

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