Nelson Piquet Jnr: was he lucky or good?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Nelson Piquet Jnr finished second at the Hockenheimring
Nelson Piquet Jnr finished second at the Hockenheimring

Nelson Piquet Jnr has not had the best of seasons so far. I picked him as the worst driver of the year so far when I ranked them all after the British Grand Prix and few of you seemed to disagree.

Today he gave Renault their first podium finish of the year. But how much of it was down to luck?

The safety car period that followed Timo Glock’s crash could not have been timed more perfectly for Nelson Piquet Jnr. He made his only stop for fuel – having qualified 17th – on lap 36. At the same time, Glock was burying his Toyota into the pit wall, causing a lengthy safety car period.

That left Piquet third on the road and, once Lewis Hamilton and Nick Heidfeld had made their pit stops, gave him the lead of the race.

When the race got back under way he was able to defend his position from Felipe Massa, who never really got close to him. He held the lead for six laps before Lewis Hamilton forced his way past. Piquet continued to lap quickly and Massa couldn’t get near to him to make a pass for second.

I thought Piquet showed a lot of maturity in the closing stages of the race. He didn’t throw the car off the track tying to defend his lead from Hamilton, and he set some of his fastest laps of the race to keep Massa at bay.

No, he wouldn’t have finished second on merit. But he took the opportunity that was presented to him and made the most of it – and sometimes that’s the best you can do in F1. How did you rate Piquet Jnr’s drive?

It was Piquet\'s first podium finish and Renault\'s first of the year
It was Piquet's first podium finish and Renault's first of the year