LRGP secured its second podium in as many races to give the Enstone team a flying start to the season
• Second podium in a row podium for LRGP
• Both drivers were on three stops: soft, soft, hard, hard
• Vitaly went off track on lap 52, and after his car hit the curb and took off, the steering column mount broke when landing
• LRGP is now placed fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, 26 points ahead of nearest rival.
Nick Heidfeld, P3, R31-04
“I had a great start just like in Australia, and did not expect to make up so many positions. I moved up to P2, making up four places. After that I did my best to follow Sebastian (Vettel) but he was much quicker. Then, I noticed some drops of rain and my tyres were going off but I stayed out. I lost a couple of places at my first pit stop, but it’s clear we had really good pace and we were able to fight with the cars ahead. I got lucky with Fernando (Alonso) having a problem, but it was great fun fighting and getting ahead of Lewis (Hamilton). In the final few laps Mark (Webber) was close behind me but we had the pace to stay ahead. It’s another great result for Lotus Renault GP and it’s clear the team has taken a big step forward this year.”
Vitaly Petrov, DNF, R31-03
“First of all I am happy for the team as we got another podium, so we can consider this a great start to the season for us. It was a strong performance by the team in an unusual race. I made a small mistake which shouldn’t have had the consequences it had. I went wide and the car took off on the curb, 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.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal and Managing Director
“That was a tough race with a lot of pit stops, a lot of strategy changes and honestly I don’t believe everything was going according to plan for anybody but as a team we reacted very well.I’m pleased of course for Nick but I’m also pleased for the whole team. It’s another great reward for us, especially after the tough start to the weekend. It’s good to be on the podium again, although it is disappointing to have lost one car with less than ten laps to go. There’s no doubt the car is competitive although it is not currently quick enough to be winning races. So, we need to push hard on the development side, but scoring two podiums in a row is definitely very satisfying.”
James Allison, Technical Director
“We thought it was going to be a blizzard of pit stops today, and so it turned out. It was a fantastic performance from the team, slightly lucky to get a podium but even without Alonso’s incident it would have been a very well deserved fourth place. Today’s result is fantastic for all the team here at the track and back in the factory. We’ve recovered from what was a very inauspicious start to the weekend and to have both cars run strongly in the race was great. Our competitiveness over the weekend got stronger and stronger. We’ve got plenty of work to do before China but the car performed well today and we can be pleased with that."
Riccardo Penteado, LRGP Engine Support Leader, Renault Sport F1
“It’s a fantastic result for LRGP to have its second consecutive podium. Congratulations to Nick and the whole team. Today both drivers drove a great race and it was a shame that Vitaly could not give the team the double points finish it deserved. Nick had an amazing start and held off Mark Webber in the closing stages under very heavy pressure. The result, and the 15 points it brings, shows just how well the chassis and the RS27 package is working at the moment. We didn’t have any issues from the engine side; the cooling systems all worked very well despite the high ambient heat and humid conditions we saw today. The KERS system also helped today and we’re pleased with the way everything went.”
• Did you know?
Nick’s 3rd position was the 100th podium of a Renault chassis. The first one was Jean-Pierre Jabouille in 1979 (French GP).