LRGP concluded a trying 2011 season with an additional point to the season tally thanks to a measured and composed drive from Vitaly Petrov as rain threatened but never arrived at Interlagos. Bruno Senna meanwhile, endured a frustrating race with loss of fourth gear and a drive through penalty for contact with Michael Schumacher.
- Both cars started on the soft tyres. Vitaly then went soft-medium, whilst Bruno went soft-medium-soft.
- Bruno’s contact with Schumacher did not affect the performance of his R31. His lack of fourth gear did.
- Tyre performance dictated at least a three stop strategy for both cars, with rival cars able to manage a two stop strategy.
- Vitaly went from 15th on the grid to 12th at the end of the first lap.
- Bruno maintained 9th position until his first pit stop on lap 12.
Bruno Senna, P17, R31-05
“What can I say – it’s been quite a difficult day and the overall feeling is one of disappointment. I started the race in a healthy position on the grid and I was hoping to capitalise on that. There were many difficulties preventing us from having a better race, namely the incident with Michael and the gearbox problems. I would love to have given my home fans something to smile about, but unfortunately it was not to be.”
Vitaly Petrov, P10, R31-06
“Definitely it is good to finish with a point, which was a good response to yesterday’s qualifying position. My race start was good and my speed was not too bad and I was quite happy with the car. We came in quite early and I think we lost out being behind both Toro Rosso as it was very difficult to overtake them. I lost quite a lot of time like this, otherwise I think I could have been ahead of Kamui Kobayashi and it would have been better to finish in P9 instead of P10. The pit stops were better, with one very good one – my crew were working well right up to the end of the season. I wanted more points this year. It was not a fantastic season but I want to say thank you to all the team who have supported me and believed in me. Next year is another season and I hope we can work even better together and achieve much better results.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal and Managing Director
“There are positives to take from today. On the surface, 10th and 17th positions would not seem good enough but we took a point from the final race of the season. Vitaly did this for us from a lowly 15th position on the starting grid, so that has to be commended – he drove a reasonably good race. Bruno was unfortunate not to have a better time of things in front of his home fans. The team have once again put in a lot of hard work this weekend and I’m very thankful to everyone for that.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director
“A tricky race for us as those we were racing were able to run to two stops and our tyre wear meant that we had to make three. Vitaly drove strongly to go from 15th to 10th, whereas Bruno’s race was totally compromised with a gearbox issue leaving him without fourth gear. Bruno didn’t suffer from his wing making contact with Michael’s car and it would have taken longer to change the wing than we would have gained from replacing it. Bruno’s contact with Michael looked like a racing incident so we were surprised at the penalty, but of course we respect the stewards’ decision. Overall, it’s certainly been a trying season and I can’t wait till next year.”
Ricardo Penteado, LRGP Engine Support Leader, Renault Sport F1
“The Brazilian GP is not a tough one for engines, but on account of the high altitude the RS27 engine can be around 8% down on power. We tried to compensate for this with an aggressive engine strategy on both cars and it paid off for Vitaly as he gained five positions and finished in the points, which is quite satisfying after a challenging second half of the season. Unfortunately Bruno had a few issues in the race which meant he couldn’t capitalise on his strong starting position, but the most important is that we consolidated fifth in the constructors’ championship.”