Renault: Points salvaged after poor qualifying

2011 Chinese GP team review

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The Renaults lined up tenth and 16th after Petrov’s engine problem in qualifying.

But the Russian driver brought his car home in the points in the race.

Nick Heidfeld Vitaly Petrov
Qualifying position 16 10
Qualifying time comparison (Q2) 1’36.611 (+1.462) 1’35.149
Race position 12 9
Laps 56/56 56/56
Pit stops 2 2

Renault drivers’ lap times throughout the race:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56
Nick Heidfeld 114.879 106.643 106.235 106.165 106.096 105.754 106.209 106.677 106.783 105.199 105.216 105.089 104.915 105.114 105.85 106.815 106.459 110.899 121.598 102.414 102.889 102.691 102.923 103.034 103.204 103.673 103.045 103.111 104.385 108.749 120.937 102.769 103.625 103.454 103.349 103.299 103.313 103.605 103.249 103.379 102.851 103.943 105.151 103.199 102.661 102.829 102.842 102.683 102.662 102.526 102.406 102.693 103.03 103.21 104.031 110.556
Vitaly Petrov 113.553 106.671 106.131 106.442 105.834 105.649 105.281 105.18 104.835 105.267 105.154 104.827 105.342 105.98 106.444 106.048 110.97 122.344 103.618 103.381 103.424 103.355 103.665 103.106 103.701 103.444 103.279 103.786 104.74 104.988 103.339 102.928 104.057 104.862 103.603 103.282 109.222 120.987 101.97 103.21 103.087 102.916 102.385 103.103 104.687 103.413 101.635 101.387 101.416 101.261 102.027 102.618 103.366 102.508 102.957 102.965

Nick Heidfeld

Crashed in both the first two practice sessions, damaging the front of the car twice.

Renault tried to get both their cars through Q2 using just one set of soft tyres, to save some for the race, but their tactics backfired for Heidfeld.

He already embarked on a lap when the session was red-flagged due to his team mate’s engine problem. A late run in traffic was only good enough for 16th.

Heidfeld moved up to 14th at the start, then passed Sebastien Buemi for 13th.

However his attempts to move up the field were hindered by a malfunctioning KInetic Energy Recovery System: “After a few laps I started having problems with the KERS and couldn’t use the full power all the time, which made overtaking and defending quite difficult.

“I think our pace in the second stint on the soft tyre was not too bad, but it was still hard to attack the cars ahead of me. That’s why we made an early stop for hard tyres in the hope that we could get some clean air and jump the cars ahead of me.

“Unfortunately [Sergio] Perez and [Adrian] Sutil stopped on the same lap, and it meant I couldn’t really show our pace in the final stint.”

Perez collided with him later in the race but Heidfeld continued to finish 12th.

Nick Heidfeld 2011 form guide

Vitaly Petrov, Nick Heidfeld, Shanghai, 2011

Vitaly Petrov

An air supply problem on Petrov’s engine caused it to cut out after his single flying lap in Q2.

His lap time was good enough to get him into Q3, but unable to set a further time he started the race tenth.

Petrov’s KERS worked fine during the race. He said afterwards: “KERS saved my life on Sunday.

“It saved my position a few times during the race plus it enabled me to do some overtaking.”

He slipped back to 12th at the start but passed Alguersuari – the Renaults enjoying the highest straight line speeds of over 322kph (200mph).

Later in the race he passed his team mate, Kamui Kobayashi and Paul di Resta to secure eighth place.

Team principal Eric Boullier said the team would revise its approach to strategy following the race: “Part of the reason was that overtaking was not as easy as we thought it would be, even with the DRS.

“Also, we need to review our strategy because it wasn’t easy to make the calls today and it’s clear you need to switch tyres at exactly the right moment.”

Vitaly Petrov 2011 form guide

2011 Chinese Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    15 comments on “Renault: Points salvaged after poor qualifying”

    1. Was a little disappointed with the Renaults after their recent podiums. Given the variety of strategies and the ability to pass in China, it just seems to me that their pace was lacking and their strategy was wrong.

      Still, good qualy performance from Vitaly, he’s come on strong this year.

      1. it just seems to me that their pace was lacking and their strategy was wrong.

        Yeah, they never really matched the top teams.

      2. But most of the damage was done in Qualifying. But as Petrov rightly states, a better strategy could have got them further on Sunday.

        1. Exactly. Having the fastest car doesn’t count for much on these tyres and the strategy required to use them.

    2. Good that playing chicken with the clock during Q2 backfired on them. I hate when teams do that and it’s bound to fail most of the times.

      1. The only team it seems to work out for regularly is Red Bull, and it even backfired for them with Webber this time. I agree that it’s annoying, but it does often make for an exciting end to qualifying.

    3. Yet another race where we couldn’t say “what would Kubica have done” because the same problems would have hit him too. Might have got 10th maybe.

      In fact, I might start a thread about this.

    4. Nice midfilder and good team mates. but I don’t want them to harm Ferrari :P

      1. I do want them (Renault) to come back from this past weekend to where they were in the first two races, and harm Merc…or at least MS…NR is slowly becoming my new hero…sorry folks, I’m just not an MS fan…never have been…and actually, I’m not sorry…was glad to see FA ahead of MS in the end…ie. MS’s old team ahead of him…

    5. dyslexicbunny
      18th April 2011, 18:28

      Typo: Later in the race he passed his team mate, Kamui Kobayashi and Paul di Resta to secure eighth place. But he finished 9th. Doh!

    6. A decent weekend considering the problems both drivers had before the race. Ok, Heidfled has no one to blame but himself using 3 wings on Friday but Petrov did well.

    7. I think Petrov could maybe have done a little bit better, but will have to be satisfied with a points finish i suppose. Heidfeld can write China off as a bad job and move on – no harm done.

    8. Renault were rather dissapointing this weekend. Petrov performed reasonably well, but not great in comparison to the first two races. After practice Heidfeld was pretty unlucky in quali and in the race. I guess after qualifying we were never going to see just how well Renault may have performed, they probably would have finished around 5th or 6th close to Ferrari.

      1. Yeah, the qualifying problems make it really difficult to know what their real performance may have otherwise been. If Petrov’s car hadn’t stopped on track I feel like Heidfeld would’ve made it to Q3, and they both may have started around 6th, 7th, 8th.

    9. Difficult weekend, but their pace is still good enough to get some points. Last year they were pretty good in Turkey, let’s see how well they do this year. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Petrov ahead of Alonso again, as he has pace and consistency, while Alonso seems to be unhappy in the car due to lack of speed and driveability of his machine.

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