Renault went to Singapore expecting a bad weekend and that’s exactly what they got.
Both drivers finished well outside the points. Having scored 60 in the first seven races of 2011, the last seven have yielded just ten points for Renault.
Eric Boullier described the team’s performance in Singapore as “embarrassing” and “painful”.
|Bruno Senna||Vitaly Petrov|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q1)||1’48.861 (-0.974)||1’49.835|
Renault drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
|Start tyre||Super soft|
|Pit stop 1||Soft 35.398s|
|Pit stop 2||Soft 36.856s|
|Pit stop 3||Super soft 30.832s|
|Pit stop 4||Super soft 30.987s|
Senna finished where he started: 15th.
Having switched to soft tyres on lap ten he hit the wall, breaking his front wing, forcing him to make another pit stop on the next lap.
That left him down in 22nd place. When the safety car came out he switched back to super soft tyres.
Then followed a strange sequence of events in which the team incorrectly told him he was racing Sergio Perez for position even though Perez was a lap ahead, and the pair made contact, fortunately without significantly disrupting either of their races.
He progressed as far as 15th and, despite having to make a fourth pit stop, finished there.
“We suffered from some very high tyre degradation,” he explained.
“I was pushing hard to complete good lap times but we had to adjust the brake balance a lot to try and compensate for the rear tyre wear.
“When we put the soft tyres on they didn’t have quite the same bite as the super softs. Then, when I came into the hairpin which is the slowest corner of the track, my wheels locked up and I hit the wall.”
|Pit stop 1||Soft 30.807s|
|Pit stop 2||Super soft 30.625s|
|Pit stop 3||Super soft 30.485s|
The team abandoned its efforts to run new parts of Petrov’s car in practice because of cooling problems.
Technical director James Allison explained: “The bodywork upgrade package had a problem with its water radiator.
“Without time to diagnose the problem we had to make a swift decision to revert to the original package for the remainder of the weekend. We will figure out what went wrong ahead of the next race.”
Petrov admitted he made a mistake on his quickest lap which cost him up to half a second, which meant he was knocked out in Q1 for the first time this year.
He started the race on soft tyres but dropped back behind Jarno Trulli. He spent the first stint following Jaime Alguersuari behind the Lotus.
Alguersuari hit Trulli which ultimately removed both of them from in front of Petrov. But when he pitted during the safety car period he dropped behind Heikki Kovalainen.
He spent the rest of the race behind the Lotus, unable to get ahead when they pitted together on lap 47.
Petrov found a way past Jerome d’Ambrosio on lap 53 which left him 17th at the flag.
At the end of a tough weekend, Eric Boullier said: “The R31 was never suited to street circuits and there were very few reasons to hope this might change here.
“However, we never expected our performance to be so embarrassing. Seeing our cars so low in the classification today, clearly struggling for grip among blue flags, was a painful experience.”
2011 Singapore Grand Prix
Image © Renault/LAT