Renault recover from Friday drama for podium

2011 Malaysian GP

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Nick Heidfeld dispelled memories of his tough weekend in Melbourne with a podium in Sepang.

Nick HeidfeldVitaly Petrov
Qualifying position68
Qualifying time comparison (Q3)1’36.124 (-0.2)1’36.324
Race position317
Pit stops33

Renault drivers’ lap times throughout the race:

Nick Heidfeld111.553105.025104.629104.815104.826104.763105.013105.148105.871106.039106.711107.944111.911126.584105.316105.109104.767104.399103.832103.531103.204107.084103.586104.136104.677106.991121.444102.668102.713102.559102.444102.544102.982102.722103.045102.723102.757103.43106.076120.537102.075102.859104.012102.442102.487101.711101.547102.181102.37101.953103.02102.683101.949102.802102.579102.129
Vitaly Petrov114.438105.53105.451105.737108.704106.032105.52105.235105.138105.723105.648106.496107.601107.773111.124124.569104.045103.916103.442103.41104.194104.117103.711104.065104.392106.559108.677121.946102.689102.578103.21104.115103.752103.038103.014103.162102.673103.328103.459103.527104.125104.615105.112108.969125.963101.383101.311102.302101.054101.511101.16101.404
Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Sepang, 2011
Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Sepang, 2011

Nick Heidfeld

The first sign of something wrong at Renault came when Heidfeld’s front-right brake locked solid during first practice.

He had to drive back to the pits with smoke coming from the disintegrating tyre. Renault later traced the fault back to a bad batch of a parts and replaced them.

Heidfeld put the car in sixth on the grid and made a rapid start to claim second.

He was jumped by both McLarens who pitted earlier than him at the first round of pit stops. But come the end of the race he reaped the benefit of stopping later. His tyres were in better condition and he easily passed Lewis Hamilton for third place.

Nick Heidfeld 2011 form guide

Vitaly Petrov

Petrov had an alarming failure at the front-left of his car during first practice, sending him into the gravel at turn eight. It had the same cause as Heidfeld’s problem.

From eighth on the grid he passed both Ferraris at the start, but it all fell apart on lap five. First he was passed by Felipe Massa, then he slid off the track and lost another place to Fernando Alonso.

He twice overtook Kamui Kobayashi for eighth place but his race came to a dramatic end on lap 53.

He understeered wide at turn eight and was thrown high in the air by a bump. The landing broke the mount on his steering column, putting him out of the race.

Petrov said: “I made a small mistake which shouldn?t have had the consequences it had.

“I went wide and the car took off on the kerb, landing hard. Both cars should have been in the points today, but the good news is that we clearly have the pace needed to compete this season.”

Vitaly Petrov 2011 form guide

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix

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    38 comments on “Renault recover from Friday drama for podium”

    1. What was it in the end that Petrov drove over? Was it just a bump, or something to with the draining? Either way it should be rectified for next season.

      1. I think it was a gully for channeling rain water off the track. Monsoon size gully.

      2. I noticed Schumacher went off the track earlier in the race at the same place but got back on the track just before the invisible ramp Petrov managed to find. If I recall he actually just went over the beginning of the gulley and didn’t have any problems.

        I think Petrov was quite unlucky, it wasn’t actually the rain gulley that launched him but the join between astro turf, concrete and real grass:

          1. early candidate for crash of the season?

            1. best so far……..

              this pic shows it from another angle:


              and this is what i thought as he sailed through the air


            2. Easily! Though I was disappointed for Petrov, it was an awesome sight to see. An exciting crash, but a relatively safe one.

        1. I noticed Schumacher went off the track earlier in the race at the same place but got back on the track just before the invisible ramp Petrov managed to find.

          No, Schumacher went off at turn 6, whereas Petrov went off at turn 8. But I think it was Villeneuve in 1999 (well, it was a BAR) that spun where Petrov was launched and it was quite violent as well.

    2. dyslexicbunny
      11th April 2011, 16:50

      It really looked like the wheels weren’t turning before the jump. But then again, I “watched” the race on the couch while nursing a hangover and only woke up when I heard “holy s***” and saw his air.

      If Bernie wants to improve the show, there needs to be a jump in the circuit. It works in Mario Kart, it’ll work here.

      1. Sushi Meerkat
        11th April 2011, 19:00

        KERS system and DRS system, :D, are essentially the Mushrooms from Mario Kart Video Game, The Game.

        Rubens Barrichello is the Blue Shell

    3. while nursing a hangover

      Before hangover I was expecting something very very different from your comment. Oh well that’s what I get for watching Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson too much.

      1. Hell, i was nursing a semi when i saw both Renaults streaming past Ferraris and McLarens on the start.

        There You have it.

        1. Randy by name…

    4. Well, now it’s certain that Renault and Mercedes has changed their position. to be honest I thought they could be faster than Ferrari but it isn’t. They cannot match Ferrari’s race pace but they could challenge in quali. They’re very serious threat to Ferrari for a while.

      1. Yeah definitely. They were the nemesis of the Pracing Horse in Melbourne as well Petrov and Alonso coming together again. So they seem to be direct opponents in terms of raw one-lap pace.

        Though I have not seen a car having this much of a difference in terms of short and long stints as the 150° Italia this year. Almost a second.

        Another interesting point ot make is how drivers seem to handle the last stints: they are unlike the previous ones, where they seem to get on a consistent pace pushing it until tyres starting to go off in a consistent pattern also. On the last stints however they seem to nurse the tyres, keeping just enough pace to position themselves on the track nicely compared to others, not pushing all along. This has the rewards of the possibility of some more performance lft to be used when it’s appropriate – such as Nick did against Webbo at the end of the race.

        Of course it could have been another ‘mix’ of fuel or another ‘plan’ of engine programmes.

      2. I think Ferrari’s edge to Renault is very slight though.

        Plus, since Alonso and Massa are better than Heidfeld and Petrov respectively, for all we know, the cars may be more equal than we think.

        1. A great point butterdoi.

        2. Not to mention the fact that Renault had very minimal time on Friday to do their setup work compared to Ferrari and everyone else. I’m hoping they can get a good race setup in China and challenge for the podium again!

          1. Well Ferrari also had little time for the specifical Sepang setups because of their aero tests.

            Or course it’s a smaller ‘problem’ to what Renault had to endure and I barely know how much time they spent on it because I was half stoned. :D

            But butterdori really has a point. Interesting to see how their pace develop through the year: can Renault outperform Ferrari in the long haul or can Ferrari play an resultful catch-up to Red Bull and/or McLaren?

    5. Best retirement of the last 15 years, for sure!

      It was epic!

      1. dyslexicbunny
        11th April 2011, 18:30

        Over Webber’s flight maneuver last year? Hardly.

        1. broken steering wheel column was great.

      2. Also lucky because it could have been very dangerous, being without steering wheel. Luckily he was safe and we can enjoy the replays :P

    6. Good job renault. Unlucky Petrov, but thanks for the entertaining air. Unfortunately you don’t get the biggest air awards as that goes to Wbber for Valencia last year, and I think Glocks air in Australia in 2009 also beats it. But good effort.

      1. Sushi Meerkat
        11th April 2011, 19:04

        I’m in two minds really, Webber’s Valencia auditions for the Red Bull Air Race was pretty good, but the energy from Glocks Air Rave maneuver actually made the crane cam shake, hence was spectacular because one minute he was fine driving all on his lonesome and its as if his car went “sorry Timo but, RANDOM EXPLOSION!”.

    7. Renault got lucky and took another podium, but can they do that again in China? On race pace they look a bit slower than Mclarens and at least one of the Ferraris, but they can chalenge them at the start, they have very good acceleration and that may help them, i’m hoping for that.

      1. Lucky? I dont think luck has anything to do with it. Petrov has come of age and Heidfield appears to be getting on top of the car. Both drove outstanding races, had great starts and doing a fine job.

        Their strategy was spot on, especially Heidfield’s, which allowed him to get into the top 3 in the later stages of the race

        1. I still believe they were lucky. In Autralia Petrov’s 3’rd was Button’s place, if he didn’t get the penalty. In Malaysia Heidfield 3’rd should have been Alonso’s place or Hamilton’s if only there wouldn’t have been the incident between them. Its clear Renault are a bit slower than Mclarens and Ferraris, but they handle tyres better than Ferraris, and have good starts which helps them too.

        2. I think they were a little lucky, but they have shown that whenever there is an issue with the top teams they are right there in a position to claim points and podiums

    8. best crash so far……..

      quite like this shot if it:


      1. Not bad ;)

    9. HA HA epic picture mate!!!
      That one did made me laugh a lot!

      Good race for the Renault’s, great start by both.
      Some solid strategy, decent pace and entertaining stuff by Petrov.
      Too bad for that broken mount on his steering column…


    10. Shame about Petrov’s crash really, even though it looked completely awesome. His own characterization is spot on. He made a small mistake that definitely shouldn’t have had the consequences it did. It was indeed very reminiscent of Glock’s crash in Aus 2009.

      Good to see them up there with Ferrari. Such a shame Kubica isn’t around to show what the car is really capable of, not to mention I don’t care much for either Heidfeld of Petrov.

    11. Glad Heidfeld got on the podium – I think he was unlucky with the location of the Renault pit-box. I could be wrong but it looked like he was held in his box at the first stop due to the 50 metre rule, costing him at least one place at that point. Teams are going to need to figure that in when they’re stopping at the same time as others whose garages are behind them.

    12. Thought there would have been a mention that Petrov didn’t bother to lift off the throttle! Surely that’s what put him in the air, could see it coming.

      Nevertheless, another good result for them, hope they both finish better in China.

      They’re managing to make Ferrari look like amateurs at the moment.

      1. I think he didn’t lift because Hamilton was close to him, on fresh tyres. Noone would expect such jump anyway!

        I wonder how much longer he’d stay in the air if his wings were upside down :)

    13. The start by Heidfeld was great, shame for Petrov a mistake of his own.

    14. I can see the odd win for Renault this year. Honest. Podiums-a-plenty at least.

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