Renault failed to score for the first time since last year after a fire on Heidfeld’s car.
|Nick Heidfeld||Vitaly Petrov|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q2)||1’22.470 (+0.186)||1’22.284|
Renault drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
A fuel delivery problem delayed Heidfeld in final practice. He took 14th on the grid which he said was “perhaps… an indication of where we stand right now.”
Heidfeld’s race ended with a dramatic fire but it hadn’t gone well up to that point – he’d been behind Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus for much of the race.
Starting on the damp side of the grid, he lost four places at the start, then another to Adrian Sutil on lap two.
He took Timo Glock on lap six, and moved back in front of Sutil by ditching intermediates for slicks a lap earlier than the Force India driver.
He spent the next few laps behind Kovalainen until Pastor Maldonado passed him on lap 18.
Now 18th, Heidfeld came in early for his second stop on lap 23. But it was the beginning of the end for his race.
His left-rear exhaust overheated during a slow pit stop, and smoke and flame was already visible from the car as he returned to the pits. He quickly pulled over as fire engulfed the left sidepod.
Afterwards team principal Eric Boullier said “the car is not designed to stay running on high revs for so long so it caught fire.” Heidfeld’s pit stop was one of the slowest of the race, around six seconds slower than the fastest.
Petrov struggled with tyre warm-up in qualifying, ending up 12th on the grid.
He made up a place at the start and was one of the first four drivers to switch to slick tyres.
Unfortunately his stop was one of the slowest of the races (even longer than Heidfeld’s) so instead of gaining places he lost one to Rubens Barrichello.
Petrov took soft tyres for his third stint and rose to eighth place by staying out longer than the cars around him. When the rain came later on he was in need of a pit stop for fresh tyres so he plumped for intermediates.
That proved to be a mistake which cost him a points finish. Afterwards he said: “When the rain returned near the end of the race I lost temperature in my tyres and this made the car’s handling very difficult.
“It looked like the wet conditions would continue so I changed to the intermediates, but it did not last as long as we thought. Maybe we should have changed to the super softs, but it is so difficult to predict the weather, and many other teams did the same thing.”
It was Renault’s first no-score since last year’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Drove Nick Heidfeld’s car in first practice.
2011 Hungarian Grand Prix
Image © Renault/LAT