New engines help Renault to best result of 2010

Renault race review

Vitaly Petrov, Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Vitaly Petrov, Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Both Renault drivers used new engines for the last race of the season – the only drivers on the grid to enjoy this advantage.

That helped Robert Kubica to make passes on Adrian Sutil and Kamui Kobayashi.

And it aided Vitaly Petrov’s surprising 40-lap position defence from Fernando Alonso.

Robert Kubica Vitaly Petrov
Qualifying position 11 10
Qualifying time comparison (Q2) 1’40.780 (+0.122) 1’40.658
Race position 5 6
Laps 55/55 55/55
Pit stops 1 1

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Robert Kubica

Seemed downcast about his car on Friday, saying:

It?s tricky to find a nice balance on the car here, because the off-camber corners are frustrating to drive and the high rear degradation means the car oversteers quite a lot.
Robert Kubica

The sparkle wasn’t there in qualifying either, as he failed to make the cut for Q3 and was beaten by his team mate for only the second time in 19 races this year.

That at least gave him a free tyre choice and he started the race on the medium tyre.

After the restart he made a vital pass around the outside of Adrian Sutil to take ninth.

On lap 25 he did much the same to Kamui Kobayashi to take third.

That gave him the opportunity to pull out an advantage over Alonso while withstanding pressure from Lewis Hamilton. He did lose some time keeping Hamilton back, potentially enough to cost him fourth place to Nico Rosberg:

I had a problem with a clutch at the start, and I was running in 14th position after turn two. When the Safety Car went in, I managed to overtake Sutil, which was important.

I then found myself stuck behind Kamui, who was braking very late which made it difficult to attack him. Eventually, I got a run on him out of turn nine and he covered the inside for turn 11 ?ǣ so I was able to pass round the outside.

That was a key moment, and afterwards I just concentrated on getting the maximum from the car and setting quick laps.

The car was still difficult to drive this afternoon, but I pushed really hard because I had nothing to lose ?ǣ and I?m very pleased to finish fifth after starting 11th.
Robert Kubica

Compare Robert Kubica’s form against his team mate in 2010

Vitaly Petrov

While Kubica struggled with his car, Petrov said he was much happier with his balance and beat his team mate to tenth on the grid:

The car has felt pretty good all weekend for me. We have made progress in each session, especially with the feel of the brakes, which is very important at this circuit, and it felt like all the parts of the package were working well today.
Vitaly Petrov

The team used the safety car period to switch him to medium tyres, leaving him down in 18th. He began the restart behind Rosberg but within three laps of the restart, having worked past the Lotuses and Virgins, he was five seconds behind the Mercedes.

On lap 16 Fernando Alonso appeared in his mirrors having pitted, and Petrov was thrust into a starring role in the championship deciding race:

I had a long battle with Fernando, but the car had good top speed today so I was able to control the situation: I just did my job.

If he had tried a move, then I didn?t want to crash with him, but it didn?t come to that. I came here to fight, and race every other driver, and I think I showed today that I can fight.
Vitaly Petrov

Petrov never put a wheel wrong as he endured almost 40 laps of pressure from the double world champion.

By finishing sixth to Kubica’s fifth the team scored 18 points, matching their best result of the season (Kubica’s second place in Melbourne).

Compare Vitaly Petrov’s form against his team mate in 2010

2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Browse all 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix articles

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15 comments on New engines help Renault to best result of 2010

  1. Kubica’s performance between Q and race both in Brazil Abu Dhabi is something beyond my understanding, and his explanations don’t help to clarify, actually.
    In Brazil he was really quick in Q1 and Q2 (4th and 3rd, not in Q3 – it was when Hulk won PP) but suffered to get speed and acceleration during the race and as he said, he was unable to attack on straights.
    In Abu Dhabi it was contrary. He visibly struggled in FP3 and all Q, it looked like damage limitation. So I was pretty surprised he was so quick in the race that managed to build so big gap to appear ahead of Petrov and Alonso (Petrov gained becasue he pitted during SC). Kubica was also held by Barrichello and positions gained on Kobayashi and Sutil were those which he lost during the start. *Confused*

    • Mcartur said on 15th November 2010, 17:49

      Kubica in Brazil:

      Race – “I was losing a lot of time in the low- speed corners, and I couldn’t use our top speed advantage because I was stuck on the rev limiter for a long time on the main straight, so couldn’t attack him (Hulkenberg)”

      Kubica in Abu Dhabi:

      Qualifications – “The rear of the car was sliding a lot this evening, so it was hard to get on the power early enough to set a good lap time. I tried everything, I was sideways in a lot of corners, but that’s how it was today.”

      Race – “I had a problem with a clutch at the start”

      I also dont understand why he was so quick in the race (Abu Dhabi)

  2. the amazing thing is that Petrov managed to fend off Alonso for 40 laps and also managed to be slow enough to allow Kubica to rejoin ahead

    • I don’t think Petrow worked for Kubica, but it’s true he was also held for some period by another car – Barrichello probably.

  3. Renault chose the wrong time to be competitive. Damn, Alonso.

  4. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 15th November 2010, 18:54

    Mega showing from Petrov. Hulkenberg’s pole in Brazil was impressive, but holding off Fernando Alonso for forty laps is even moreso. Whatever Alonso does to pressure other drivers, Petrov is clearly immune to it since this is the second time this has happened this season (the other time being Turkey – and I’m surprised neither Alonso nor Ferrari showed any recollection of it). I’ll be massively disappointed if Renault were to replace Petrov with Hulkenberg.

    • Jarred Walmsley (@jarred-walmsley) said on 15th November 2010, 19:35

      Very true, I think Abu Dhabi may well have saved Petrov for the 2011 season as that was an immense showing by him and shows that he obviously can drive and isn’t just at Renault as a pay driver.

      • velvet_demon said on 15th November 2010, 20:15

        Short memory? Some statistic (from autosport forum):
        Qualifying RK-17/2-VP
        Race (positions before Robert’s retirements, every one this season has been through technical fault) RK-18/1 VP
        Points finishing races RK-15/5-VP
        Races not in points RK-4/14-VP
        Ratio of points RK-5.04/1-VP
        Podiums RK-3/0-VP

        One race means nothing.

    • sunseeker said on 15th November 2010, 20:22

      what so impressive when you know your car is untouchable on straights? only thing petrov should have done was not to make big mistake before straights, and he didn’t, bet there is nothing impressive in doing that…….

      ferrari was 0,8 – 0,1 faster than renault on the wrong part of the track…..that is is, no miracles, nothing impressive, nothing special that hasn’t been done……

      • You have a point. Kubica had much harder work to defend against Hamilton because Maclaren was faster than Ferrari and definately faster on straights.

    • duirng the race I was guessing this was a kind of pay back for Turkkey – where Fernando was brutal in his attacks and imposed a puncture on Petrov

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 16th November 2010, 18:59

      I agree Petrov’s drive was perfectly executed, and Alonso surely would’ve been able to pass if Petrov had made a small mistake, but let’s consider Alonso was probably running a conservative engine setting for insurance. Petrov was one of only 2 drivers with a brand new engine (presumably running at full blast). The Renaults have for some time now been one of the very fastest cars in the speed traps. Therefore the one place that makes sense to pass is the one place Alonso was at a disadvantage to Petrov. Webber was similarly disadvantaged to Alonso as the RB6 was one of the slowest cars in the speed trap. That said though, I’m sure this strong finish to the season has gone a long way to keeping Petrov in his seat for next year, but I won’t be surprised if it’s not him…

  5. i think Renault got most out of the F-duct compared to other teams. also they must have set up the car for first & second sector, that meant they were pretty slow in the last sector. This compromise worked well for Petrov, as Alonso found out.

    Btw had flavio briatore been in charge of Renault he would have let Alonso pass both of the Renault cars.

    • Their ‘F-Duct’ was seen as the second best, behind McLaren obviously. I’ve been thoroughly impressed with Renault’s development throughout the season; let’s hope that Kubica has a front running car soon…

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