2011 Chinese Grand Prix
Renault expect to get both cars in the points tomorrow despite qualifying tenth and 16th.
Vitaly Petrov will start tenth having reached Q3, but being unable to set a further time because as his car stopped in Q2.
The team say a loss of air supply to the engine caused it to cut out. They do not believe the unit needs replacing.
Petrov’s problem brought out the red flags which compromised team mate Nick Heidfeld’s attempt to qualify.
Heidfeld said: “It’s quite frustrating to be starting from 16th because I don’t think it’s a fair reflection of our pace.
“We were always going to do one run on the soft tyres in Q2, but the red flag made the last few minutes on Q2 very busy.
“You really needed to be first in the queue at the end of the pit lane because there was not much time to get around and cross the line before the end of the session. I managed to do one final lap, but I was stuck in traffic and I couldn’t get a clean lap.”
Chief engineer Alan Permane explained Heidfeld’s strategy: “Nick’s time from Q1 suggested that it might be difficult for him to make it through to Q3. That’s why we wanted to run right at the end of Q2 to take advantage of the maximum track evolution.
“As it happened, Vitaly’s car brought out the red flags at exactly the wrong moment, and Nick then got caught up in the traffic in the busy rush at the end of Q2.”
However he expects the drivers to make up places in the race: “I think we can expect to see our pace being relatively better in the race, even compared to Vitaly’s good qualifying pace.
“We know our car is fast off the line; we’ve got very good straight-line speed and the R31 looks after its tyres well. There’s no reason why we can’t bring two cars home in the points.
“Our poor qualifying performance leaves us with more tyre options than we would normally have. We’ve effectively saved an extra set of soft tyres on each car, which are available for the race.”
2011 Chinese Grand Prix
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- 2011 Chinese Grand Prix: complete race weekend review
- Who was the best driver of the Chinese GP weekend?
- McLaren: Button’s pit mistakes almost cost Hamilton
- Red Bull: Poor qualifying gives strategy advantage to Webber
- Ferrari: Montezemolo demands reaction after poor result
- Mercedes: Rosberg beats Ferraris despite fuel worries
- Renault: Points salvaged after poor qualifying
- Sauber: Two penalties in one race for Perez
- Lotus: Kovalainen joins in midfield battle