Kubica’s fightback (Renault race review)

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A late puncture cost Kubica seven places but he took all bar one of them back.

Meanwhile team mate Petrov might have finished in ninth place if he hadn’t been lapped.

Robert KubicaVitaly Petrov
Qualifying position812
Qualifying time comparison (Q2)1’46.949 (-1.216)1’48.165
Race position711
Average race lap1’57.379 (-0.581)1’57.960
Pit stops21

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Robert Kubica

Kubica’s practice was disrupted when he missed most of the driest of the three sessions (FP2) with a hydraulic problem. He only did one lap in Q3 and it was good for eighth place.

He didn’t pit until after the safety car came out for the second time, which cost him a place to Nico Rosberg.

Worse, he had to make a second pit stop after his engineers detected a right-rear puncture:

The engineers spotted a right-rear puncture on the data – it must have been some debris that cut the tyre, because I didn’t touch the wall and couldn’t feel anything in the cockpit.
Robert Kubica

That relegated him to 13th but with fresher tyres he quickly despatched the Toro Rosso pair, his team mate, Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg.

But his most impressive move was his final one, taking seventh off Adrian Sutil around the outside of Mermorial corner. Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton, take note: that’s how it’s done cleanly.

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

Vitaly Petrov

Renault decided not to run an F-duct on Petrov’s car as he already had his hands full coping with Singapore’s 23 turns. Besides which, the device brings far less of an advantage at a track where less than half of the lap is spent at full throttle.

He started 12th after a crash in Q2, though he had been in the top ten when he hit the wall.

Nico Hulkenberg strong-armed his way by on lap seven, which also allowed Sutil and Massa to demote the Renault.

He ended the race in 11th place but might have been promoted into the points had he not allowed Fernando Alonso to lap him on the final tour.

Finishing a lap down meant he could not be promoted as a result of the post-race penalties given to Sutil and Hulkenberg.

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

2010 Singapore Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    24 comments on “Kubica’s fightback (Renault race review)”

    1. Kubica’s move on Sutil was one of the most impressive overtaking maneuvers I’ve ever seen in F1, the absolute highlight of the race. During that moment we witnessed an unbelievable display of skill, guts, aggressiveness, determination and madness.

      1. And for someone with Sutil’s reputation for causing collisions, hats off to him too. Like Webber, he didn’t have to give way, but he chose not to take a risk (given Webber’s tyre nearly went, Sutil’s probably would have).

      2. I liked the style of the passes but by the end of the race he was already taking a shower by the time the cars behind him finished. The fresh tyres gave him so much grip. It was like Kobyashi just breezing by even Fernando at Valencia. The style and execution was good but without those tyres he’d probably never have pulled it off. Thank God he got a slow puncture though as it was entertaining.

        I wonder what happened to Renault though? They were widely tipped for a podium with Robert. I suppose it was a lot harder when Ferrari and Red Bull were so competitive.

    2. One must ask the question:
      If Kubica was able to regain almost all the places he had lost during the second pitstop: Would a proper 2-stop strategy be faster than a 1-stop strategy that everybody have chosen???
      It looks it would.

      1. Good question. I would say not, because Kubica didn’t get back all the places and, more importantly, he was nowhere near to catching up with Rosberg. Even in clean air his lap times weren’t quick enough:


        What I did find surprising was that Kubica didn’t use the super-softs for his extra stint. Perhaps he didn’t have enough clean sets left.

        1. But that’s because he was not on a proper 2-stop strategy, where his stints would last approximately 30%+35%+35% of the race length.
          His first stint was made after 50% of the race (which means he drove on “very old” tyres), right, and the race was finished before his 3rd set of tyres started to deteriorate, so he had no benefits typical of having 3 shorter stints as in a 2-stop strategy.

          1. True, but remember you can’t create strategy in a vacuum. Any decision to pit means a loss of track position and potentially a need to pass cars. Kubica made quick progress through traffic but, if you look at his lap times, he wasn’t gaining ground on Rosberg while he was doing it. That ultimately, is why we’re not seeing much apart from one-stop strategies this year.

            When tyre degradation is high or unpredictable (rarely, Canada this year being an exception), or when overtaking is easy (never), that’s when you see more pit stops.

            1. I was thinking about this earlier myself actually. It occurs to me that under the current rules even one pit stop has to be forced because it wastes so much more time than can be gained. When you look at Massa in Singapore you can see that clearly the tyres can manage a whole GP without too much degradation.

              The only real way to make a significant impact on tyre calls is by reducing the time wasted on pit stops, and the big time waster at the moment is the pit lane speed limit. I can’t see it being THAT much of a safety issue if it’s increased either, though things could get a little reckless and a little out of control during racing conditions admittedly. Maybe giving the pit crews armoured suits would help?

            2. I don’t think there is better way to make F1 more dangerous than having the cars go faster in pit lane.

              The only way to shorten the penalty like you suggest would be to have the limits significantly faster, perhaps even double what they are now. You see how many times cars almost collide in pit lane right?

              Pit lane is like a normal road, where you have to watch for kids chasing balls onto the road, or in this case, Engineers. Remember in Canada a few years back, when some cars collided at the end of the pit road? Imaging if the cars velocity was doubled…..

              I think your right about pit stops taking too long to be worth it, but I think a solution is the tyres wearing quicker, and thus rewarding pit stops more, rather than any change to the safety limit.

      2. The other contribution to Kubica’s overtaking ability is the relative tyre performance.
        Most of the guys he was overtaking had been on that set since lap 3, so if he had of been behind them earlier in the race he might not have had enough relative tyre pace over them to get those overtakes to make the two stop work.
        Later in the race Kubica’s tyres were significantly newer than those he was overtaking helping him out quite a bit…

    3. Very nice passing from Kubica, again he showed (like Kobayashi in Valencia) that what F1 needs is a healty speed difference in the tyres to make such a move work on track more often.

      Look at that Pirelli

      1. We can only hope. Fingers crossed for 2011 tyres.

      2. I think more than tyre speed difference, we need tyres which last for very less number of laps. Even if the tyre speed difference were to increase, everyone would spend maximum time on the faster tyre.

        What F1 needs is tyres that last for lesser distance than the current Bridgestone ones which can easily last for about 1 – 1.5 Grand Prix distances.

        But looking at it from tyre company’s point of view, they get bad publicity from drivers if their tyres last for lesser time. So, F1’s gain becomes Pirelli’s loss. So, it is unlikely to expect that Pirelli will try to make tyres that last lesser amounts of time.

    4. Kubica provided the entertainment but for Petrov it’s looking his seat in the car for 2011 is coming under more threat.

      1. I think Petrov did pretty well, considering the circumstances: it was a new circuit for him, and while he crashed out of qualifying, he was still twelfth on the grid (after Hulkenberg’s penalty). He would have been on-track for seventh place if it weren’t for Hulkenberg’s overly-aggressive move that unted him off the circuit. I’m surprised Hulkenberg didn’t get penalised for it.

        1. One penalty is enough for Hulk so that’s why he didn’t needed any.

      2. I would want Petrov to have a seat but also want Kimi to return to F1. Dont know if it ll happen or not but Eric Boullier says he wants to talk to Kimi before finalising on 2011 driver’s line up.

        Fingers crossed.

        1. Same here Gill, fingers crossed.

    5. Seems very harsh that Petrov should be effectively penalised 2 points for being a considerate driver and moving out of Alonso’s way.

      If a similar situation arose again, should his team be telling him to keep the leader behind for those last few corners?

      1. I would say so, but of course it depends on how many blue flags he’d had. The backmarkers seem to get them very early, so he might not have had a choice.

    6. My opinion is probably a minority one here, but I detest blue flags and would like to see them eliminated. Most drivers understand what is going on, and will move over in most circumstances.

      Petrov, however, should not have had to and it may have added some extra drama to the end. If Alonso is the best driver in F1 right now, and I think that he may be, he would still not have had any trouble getting around Petrov.

      However, if he made a mistake, it may have been quite the different finish.

      No blue flags. Let the alleged best drivers in the world pass slower cars that, in theory, they should have no trouble passing to begin with. If they can’t, then they’re not very good.

    7. Kubica in Monaco Kart Cup in 1999

    8. I think the main problem is that the current crop of tyres don’t correspond to a hard = durable = less grip, soft = short lifespan = more grip equation.

      I think the single tyre supplier situation has exacerbated this by not really giving an incentive for more performance.

      In the days of tyre wars, manufacturers were pushing the envelope for performance, often at the expense of durability. I don’t think the answer is to artificially make poor tyres because letes face it, why would any company deliberately want to make a bad product.

      However what might work is for the FIA to specify a durability to performance ratio.

    9. They know each other for ages men.:)
      Give them same cars ,will have nice show.

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