LRGP took ninth position in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, showing renewed pace from the R31 after the setback of Singapore. Vitaly Petrov made a late blast on option tyres to take points whilst Bruno Senna finished in 16th.
• Vitaly stopped on laps 18 and 39, using a medium, medium, soft strategy.
• Bruno stopped on laps 15 and 35, using a medium, medium, soft strategy.
• At the end of the first lap, Vitaly was in 10th position and Bruno 13th.
• A safety car period started on lap 25, early in both drivers’ second stints on medium tyres.
Vitaly Petrov, P9, R31-06
“We started on the medium (prime) tyre and I did all I could to maintain position at the start as those around me were on the soft (option). I suffered a lot of wheelspin, so with this tyre it was actually a pretty good start – if I was on the soft I would have gained places. During the race it was difficult to tell how the strategy was working and it was a challenge for the first two stints fighting against those on softer tyres. Ultimately, our target was to finish in front of Force India and this is what we achieved. 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! Then I overtook I don’t know how many cars. It’s a pity Sergio (Perez) was just too far ahead. Now we go to Korea looking for another top ten finish.”
Bruno Senna, P16, R31-04,
“From my perspective, it was a disappointing race having started the race in such a promising position. Vitaly squeezed me a little bit in the second corner, which made it tricky for me to recover. For the rest of the race, I encountered lots of traffic problems and my tyres were degrading quite fast. Overall, I think we can learn from this weekend. Despite limited track time before qualifying yesterday, I managed to get into Q3 and we certainly looked stronger over the three days here than we did in Singapore. Hopefully I will be back in the points in Korea.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal and Managing Director
“First and foremost it was good to be back in the points. We had a different strategy to most of the teams and it worked reasonably well for Vitaly, but not so well for Bruno who struggled with a lot of traffic. Unfortunately the safety car did not help us either, but at least we have two more points to help us hold off the threat of Force India in the Constructors’ Championship. Finally, on behalf of the whole team I would like to offer my congratulations to Sebastian Vettel for his second World Championship win.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director
“We’re happy to get Vitaly in the points. Our car was very severe on the soft tyre here which dictated our strategy to an extent. We had reasonable medium tyre performance so we ran a medium-medium-soft strategy. The soft tyre was faster than the medium in the race to a greater margin than we predicted. This made for a fraught time on the pit wall, however we were committed to the strategy. Our approach did work against Force India and Kamui (Kobayashi) however Sergio (Perez) was able to run two reasonably long stints on option tyres which beat us. Bruno was compromised at the start and he had a particularly poor first pit stop. He didn’t have the pace of Vitaly when he was on the soft tyres so we will work to understand why. Vitaly’s softs held on well, whereas Bruno appeared to have huge degradation. The safety car certainly didn’t help us as it came when we were early in the second stint on the medium tyres. Our overall sum up for the day: reasonable, but could have done better.”
Ricardo Penteado, LRGP Engine Support Leader, Renault Sport F1
“This weekend has seen the team get back to form in qualifying and to get a points finish is good news for the Constructors’ Championship. We knew Suzuka would suit us a lot better as it is much more high speed and requires good driveability from the engine, which we know that the RS27 delivers. We were particularly pleased that the package tried out in Singapore worked very well; we had no issues with the cooling. Korea is in just a few days so we’ll get our heads down and try to keep this form going. Congratulations to Sebastian for his second title today.”