2011, August 27

Belgian GP, Saturday

In trademark Spa-Francorchamps weather conditions this afternoon, Lotus Renault GP returned to form after securing both cars inside the top ten.

- The fabled Belgian track lived up to its reputation for unpredictable weather, as the hour-long qualifying session was met with both dry and wet conditions, giving teams plenty of tyre issues to contemplate.

- In Q3, Bruno led the way for LRGP after posting a time of 1min 51.121secs, and secured P7 in the process.

- Vitaly, meanwhile, took the final top ten berth in a time of 1min 52.303secs after frustratingly spinning off on one of his timed laps.

- Bruno Q1: Intermediates, Intermediates, Q2: Intermediates, Intermediates, Q3: Softs (new)

- Vitaly Q1: Intermediates, Intermediates, Q2: Intermediates, Intermediates, Q3: Softs (new)

Bruno Senna, P7, R31-01, 1:51.121
“I am really quite satisfied with my qualifying and I don’t think my first weekend racing for Lotus Renault GP could have started much better; I wasn’t expecting to be in the top ten when I set out this afternoon. I was a little nervous going out in Q3 using dry tyres on a damp track, because I hadn’t managed much running on them this morning or yesterday. Bearing this in mind, I feel absolutely delighted with P7. Leading up to qualifying, I’d been working on getting a good performance in the wet, and I knew that if qualifying was fully wet I would be in a strong position, so to perform well on dry tyres is a fantastic feeling. Looking ahead to the race, I’ll take everything step by step. The car was very good to me in qualifying so I hope this is something that repeats itself tomorrow. This circuit has been kind to me in the past and I hope that continues; the weekend is just getting better and better for me!”

Vitaly Petrov, P10, R31-03, 1:52.303
“It’s a good feeling to qualify in the top ten again, even though I would like to have finished higher than P10. I will need to sit down with the engineers to discover what happened in Q3 when I spun, but the conditions throughout qualifying were very, very difficult. It was challenging for the team to know which tyres to select because the weather changed more than once in the hour-long session and this really tested us. As a whole, the weekend has been interesting because we’ve seen several different tyre compounds used, but the most important thing is we came out with both cars in the top ten. It’s good to see the team members with smiles on their faces once again!”

James Allison, Technical Director: “I’m especially delighted with Bruno’s debut qualifying for us”

How pleased are you with today’s outcome?
I’m delighted to have both our drivers in the top ten for tomorrow’s race, and I’m especially delighted with Bruno’s debut qualifying for us in what really were quite difficult conditions.

As you say, the typical Spa weather certainly played its part…
When the lap times are changing that fast and you are not completely sure what level of grip you’re going to get at any given corner, then those are obviously very hard conditions. This is especially the case when you’ve not had time to use the car before the weekend, and when you’re at one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar.

How confident are you of turning these starting positions into points tomorrow?
I’m very pleased for both Bruno and Vitaly, and after a run of uninspiring races I’m hoping that our top ten qualifying positions translate to strong races for both drivers tomorrow.

Did you know?
On being announced as race driver for the team, an emotional Bruno described the Senna surname as “a source of great inspiration”. The Brazilian said the name was “both an opportunity and a learning curve” but learning to cope with it had made him a “more complete driver”.