2011 Japanese GP team review
The Renault drivers shared the fifth row of the grid but finished with six cars between them.
|Bruno Senna||Vitaly Petrov|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q2)||1’32.297 (+0.052)||1’32.245|
Renault drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
|Pit stop 1||Medium 25.927s|
|Pit stop 2||Soft 22.466s|
Senna used Renault’s slimmer rear bodywork in practice and retained it for the race. But the team had to make rapid repairs to his car following a crash in the last session before qualifying.
The repairs were completed in time for him to get on the track and secure a place in Q3. With neither he nor his team mate setting times at the end of the session the pair started on row five.
Senna slipped behind Petrov at the start then got onto the grass at the exit of turn two: “Vitaly squeezed me a little bit in the second corner, which made it tricky for me to recover.”
He dropped down to 13th and, on medium tyres, couldn’t keep the Williams pair behind him. By lap five he was 15th.
The team kept him out until lap 15 but he emerged from a slow pit stop in 18th place.
He got onto soft tyres when he made his final pit stop on lap 35. The Lotuses and Williams dropped behind him during their pit stops, but Rubens Barrichello recovered to re-take the position.
Having switched to soft tyres four laps before Petrov he found them going off quickly towards the end of the race, and he finished in 16th.
|Pit stop 1||Medium 21.304s|
|Pit stop 2||Soft 20.832s|
Petrov did not use the revised Renault bodywork, the team saying this was because his driving style uses higher revs, requiring more cooling.
He ran the same strategy as Senna but held his place at the start. On lap 15 Michael Schumacher used his DRS to take seventh place off him. Three laps later, Petrov was in for his first pit stop.
Following the safety car period he was passed by Sergio Perez and Paul di Resta at the restart. Three laps after that Adrian Sutil and Nico Rosberg also came past.
He made his final pit stop on lap 39: “When I put on the soft tyres towards the end of the race I felt so much grip; I smiled then I pushed a lot.”
On lap 46 he used DRS to pass di Resta, then he repeated the move on Kamui Kobayashi on the following lap.
His next target was Sutil, who he passed on lap 49. “It’s a pity Sergio was just too far ahead,” he said after finishing ninth.
2011 Japanese Grand Prix
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- 2011 Japanese Grand Prix: complete race weekend review
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- Red Bull: Conservative approach delivers Vettel’s title
- McLaren: Button pleased to win on ‘Red Bull track’
- Ferrari: Alonso edges Vettel for second
- Mercedes: Schumacher closes on Rosberg’s tally
- Renault: Petrov makes progress, Senna slips back
Image © Renault/LAT