I love how people try to make huge statements about drivers based on the back of one race, or their rookie season… The thing about rookies is that they are often inconsistent, they often make ‘school boy’ errors…. thats what it means to be a rookie for crying out loud.
Petrov put down a marker at Melbourne, he has set a high bar for himself and for the team, as well as his team mate Heidfeld. Its not like Petrov fluked his qualifying position or managed to score a lucky podium because of a safety car. He beat Heidfeld in practice, he looked comfortable and confident in the car all weekend.
Yes he may have been driving out of his skin, actually he was… but he drove that race he qualified the car at the sharp end of the grid, he made up positions with his start and he defended against both Webber and Alonso several times during the race whilst still looking after his tyres so he was able to stop 1 time less than either of them….
Don’t blame the tyres thou… take a look at Alonso strategy soft, soft, soft, hard… Alonso had to make his 3rd stop to use both compounds of tyres… this was a strategy decision. Webber was the 1st driver to stop for new tyres (without having had a puncture or an off).
Heidfeld on the other hand had a stinker of a weekend, and I am sure Renault did keep him out long after they had given up hope on him scoring any points, simply so they could get the extra testing mileage on the car. However at no point during the weekend did Heidfeld look like the dominant team mate that many of us expected him to be, this is a guy who kept Kubica, Massa and Kimi all honest when he was partnered with them. I just want to see how he performs at Malaysia, can he raise his game and put Petrov under pressure, for that matter can Petrov take the form he showed this weekend and keep his Renault at the sharp end of the grid and compete for podiums, can he reach that bit higher and compete for race wins? Probably not given how dominant the Red Bull looks and McLaren did seem to have a good step more pace… but we all know the sport and we all know that cars capable of competing for podiums can win if the circumstances are right.