2011 Chinese GP team review
The Renaults lined up tenth and 16th after Petrov’s engine problem in qualifying.
But the Russian driver brought his car home in the points in the race.
|Nick Heidfeld||Vitaly Petrov|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q2)||1’36.611 (+1.462)||1’35.149|
Renault drivers’ lap times throughout the race:
Crashed in both the first two practice sessions, damaging the front of the car twice.
Renault tried to get both their cars through Q2 using just one set of soft tyres, to save some for the race, but their tactics backfired for Heidfeld.
He already embarked on a lap when the session was red-flagged due to his team mate’s engine problem. A late run in traffic was only good enough for 16th.
Heidfeld moved up to 14th at the start, then passed Sebastien Buemi for 13th.
However his attempts to move up the field were hindered by a malfunctioning KInetic Energy Recovery System: “After a few laps I started having problems with the KERS and couldn’t use the full power all the time, which made overtaking and defending quite difficult.
“I think our pace in the second stint on the soft tyre was not too bad, but it was still hard to attack the cars ahead of me. That’s why we made an early stop for hard tyres in the hope that we could get some clean air and jump the cars ahead of me.
“Unfortunately [Sergio] Perez and [Adrian] Sutil stopped on the same lap, and it meant I couldn’t really show our pace in the final stint.”
Perez collided with him later in the race but Heidfeld continued to finish 12th.
An air supply problem on Petrov’s engine caused it to cut out after his single flying lap in Q2.
His lap time was good enough to get him into Q3, but unable to set a further time he started the race tenth.
Petrov’s KERS worked fine during the race. He said afterwards: “KERS saved my life on Sunday.
“It saved my position a few times during the race plus it enabled me to do some overtaking.”
He slipped back to 12th at the start but passed Alguersuari – the Renaults enjoying the highest straight line speeds of over 322kph (200mph).
Later in the race he passed his team mate, Kamui Kobayashi and Paul di Resta to secure eighth place.
Team principal Eric Boullier said the team would revise its approach to strategy following the race: “Part of the reason was that overtaking was not as easy as we thought it would be, even with the DRS.
“Also, we need to review our strategy because it wasn’t easy to make the calls today and it’s clear you need to switch tyres at exactly the right moment.”
2011 Chinese Grand Prix
- Hamilton: ‘It’s sweeter to win by overtaking’
- 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
Image © Renault/LAT