Renault: Petrov buoyed by R31 upgrades

2011 Belgian GP team review

Petrov says Renault have made “a big step forward” with the R31.

Bruno Senna Vitaly Petrov
Qualifying position 7 10
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’51.121 (-1.182) 1’52.303
Race position 13 9
Laps 44/44 44/44
Pit stops 2 2

Renault drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44
Bruno Senna 150.814 138.885 118.273 117.372 116.921 116.697 116.116 119.938 121.977 116.074 116.614 116.259 138.386 144.312 142.158 168.108 117.297 116.933 117.199 118.64 120.319 128.062 116.642 114.646 115.172 114.322 115.546 114.973 114.376 117.036 114.874 113.921 114.016 113.794 113.775 114.16 113.752 113.891 113.585 114.005 115.141 114.263 114.151 114.483
Vitaly Petrov 125.844 117.717 117.35 117.759 118.504 116.483 117.106 117.211 117.759 117.055 119.043 121.51 145.01 145.398 172.138 167.811 118.019 115.495 114.701 114.302 114.695 114.906 114.345 114.288 114.243 115.17 114.504 114.211 114.557 118.376 127.74 114.518 112.608 112.432 112.506 113.454 113.66 113.361 113.045 113.207 113.116 113.944 113.838 123.871

Bruno Senna

Made his debut for the team in place of Nick Heidfeld. It didn’t get off to a great start as he crashed in first practice.

But a good run in qualifiyng put him seventh on the grid, in front of Petrov.

He undid that good work within a few hundred metres of the start, sliding hard into Jaime Alguersuari’s Toro Rosso.

“I would like to say sorry to Jaime for that,” said Senna.

“I made a mistake in the braking area, so that meant I slipped back and couldn?t compete where I wanted to. This left me quite lonely at the back for a while.”

He finished 13th, but chief race engine Alan Permane praised his first race weekend for the team: “Bruno slipped up on his first corner, and this damaged his first set of tyres which set the scene for the rest of his race.

“Looking over his weekend, he did a fantastic job yesterday and it was always going to be a very difficult indoctrination racing on these tyres in dry conditions for the first time at this circuit.”

Bruno Senna 2011 form guide

Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Vitaly Petrov

Petrov had a spin in qualifying and lined up tenth on the grid.

He fell behind Kamui Kobayashi at the start and followed the Sauber through the opening stint.

Petrov pitted before the safety car came out which ultimately cost him places to Michael Schumacher and Adrian Sutil. And he was defenceless against Jenson Button who came past on lap 18.

He had to nurse a braking problem late in the race which caused a spin at the final corner on the last lap. That allowed Felipe Massa through for eighth, Petrov crossing the line in ninth.

However he was encouraged by the progress the team had made with the car: “I think we?ve made a big step forward with the car, and you can see that I was in top ten contention for all of the race – and close to the Mercedes – so we need to keep working in this direction.

“Our strategy was good, however we lost out on our top speed which meant I found it very difficult to overtake. The car was very strong on the corners, and we were very good on the brakes until I had issues at the end.

“For the final laps I was driving differently to compensate for the brake concerns, but unfortunately I spun right at the end as I had totally lost my front brakes.”

Vitaly Petrov 2011 form guide

2011 Belgian Grand Prix

Browse all 2011 Belgian Grand Prix articles

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31 comments on Renault: Petrov buoyed by R31 upgrades

  1. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th August 2011, 10:32

    I was so disappointed when Petrov’s brakes lasted forty-three of the forty-four laps. He was challenging Sutil for seventh when they started to go, and then he lost a dozen seconds on the final lap and Massa got him. At least he got two points, but it could have been six.

  2. PieLighter (@pielighter) said on 29th August 2011, 10:46

    Poor Bruno, all caused by inexperience in the car in dry conditions.
    He’ll do better next race though.

    • bananarama said on 29th August 2011, 10:58

      As we can see above, his pace in the race matched Petrovs, his laptimes were better for most of it even. The good qualifying was a nice surprise, but Senna was always very good in the wet. Lets see how it develops but for the moment I feel good about his performance (glad he didn’t let me down :-P).

      • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 29th August 2011, 12:03

        Huh? 27 lap times were better for Petrov, 17 were better for Senna (three of them behind the safety car). He didn’t let me down just because I didn’t expect much of him.

        As for the whole team however, I am pretty disappointed. It’s hard not to be, when after making “a big step forward” they finish with just two points.

        “You can see that I was in top ten contention for all of the race”. Well, congratulations. Top ten… So that’s what we’re aiming for right now? :/

        • bananarama said on 29th August 2011, 12:36

          Yeah, I confused the colors. I am still confident Senna can do fine.

          • unocv12 said on 29th August 2011, 12:54

            17 laps faster out of 44 in your first race in a team without testing isn’t exactly a bad result. Especially when he outqualified his teammate.

            If with no testing, in the wet at Spa he can outqualify and then the next day outpace his team more than 1/3 of the time. And the rest of it be about similiar, in his first race, I think that’s a big plus for Senna.

            +2 for Qualifying (1 for beating teammate, 1 for wet spa)
            +1 for race (for mostly mathcing or close to teammate).

            He made 1 mistake and that was all in his first GP quali and race in the renault. Not bad…

          • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 29th August 2011, 13:24

            @unocv12 Outpaced? By that definition he was “outpaced” by Petrov 2/3 of the time. I’m not hating on the guy, but I don’t get the praise he’s getting. Bruno didn’t show anything spectacular in F1 so far. His achievements prior to F1 are also unimpressive, compared to Hulkenberg or Grosjean, for example.

            Renault has basically two paid drivers at the moment and they are way behind when it comes to car development. The situation is far from ideal, so I don’t get why people are so upbeat about it.

          • bob80 said on 29th August 2011, 15:24

            Petrov will dominate Senna in final races. Q3 on last Saturday doesn’t mean much.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 29th August 2011, 18:39

            Surely if Senna’s pre-F1 results are unimpressive so are half the field’s. 2nd in GP2 is better than some managed.

          • Ben Curly (@ben-curly) said on 29th August 2011, 19:27

            @matt90 Wasn’t I clear enough when I said “compared to Hulkenberg or Grosjean”? These are two drivers who in my opinion are much more deserving of being in F1, than both Petrov or Senna. Unfortunately they don’t have big money or big sponsors behind their backs.

          • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 29th August 2011, 19:31

            The last comment was mine. I didn’t notice that my father was logged in. Sorry about that.

  3. SimBri said on 29th August 2011, 10:58

    Was this Bruno’s first ever race finishing on the lead lap? He didn’t do that badly after his crash, in the end he only finished 21 seconds behind his team mate. Looking forward to seeing what he can do at Monza.

    • Must have been, the long lap certainly didn’t hurt either.

      I’m quietly impressed. But like Ricciardo. If he’s to cement his place in F1 he needs to (in time) overcome his team mate.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 29th August 2011, 16:41

      I agree with you, that Senna supprised very positively, despite that cock up at the start.

      But he has a good excuse of it, while an experienced hand like Glock did just about the same!

  4. Dan_the_McLaren_fan (@dan_the_mclaren_fan) said on 29th August 2011, 11:49

    What does buoyed mean?

  5. “I would like to say sorry to Jaime for that,” said Senna

    Call me crazy and paranoid but that’s at least the third apology I’ve read/heard this weekend from the drivers and although they’ve all had a basis I can’t help but wonder if they’re all a slight dig at another driver who got into a bit of bother this weekend and didn’t seem apologetic.

    I thought Bruno was great this weekend. His early mistake was completely understandable given how he was chucked into the R31 and he’s a bit race rusty. The most important thing was his pace; a driver can calm down and crash less but it’s often harder for them to find speed. Bruno really showed great calm and maturity and was able to show off some of his talent which had been in doubt in a way he just couldn’t in the HRT.

    I was really sorry for Petrov and his brake problem as he could have got a few more points but just getting the car to the end was the best thing.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 29th August 2011, 16:43

      Hi Steph, new avatar?

      I agree with you that both Renaults did fine, with Senna very positively supprising with his speed and maturity in taking the car home without any further panic moments.

      • Yep but I’m not keeping it. Finding a one I like is a nightmare. I hope Senna shows good pace at Monza too. It’ll be great to show it wasn’t just a one off

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 30th August 2011, 21:20

      Agree with your second paragraph, Steph.

      I made a comment earlier today, in the round-up, about Boullier’s lack of perspective with Senna’s situation. He was happy with his position but did make a comment about him having to improve next time round. Not asking the Earth but that guy is just rubbing me up the wrong way at the moment, he seems to expect the impossible at times. Anyway, my point is it’s good to see one of the Renault guys heaping a bit more praise on Senna :D

  6. Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 29th August 2011, 23:35

    They were happy with their updates, but they continued giving up ground to Mercedes in the WCC. Schumacher is now ahead of Petrov and Heidfeld, while the constructors gap now stands at 30 points. Long way to go yet, but I think that unless Mercedes have a nightmare race there somewhere, Renault won’t catch them.

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