LRGP scored four points with a run from 16th to eighth from Nick Heidfeld after a difficult weekend in highly variable weather conditions at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix. Vitaly started 14th and finished 12th.
• Both Nick and Vitaly adopted two-stop strategies: intermediate / soft / soft
• Nick stopped on laps 10 and 30, while Vitaly made his stops on laps 11 and 38
• Nick set his fastest lap, a 1min 37.117secs, on lap 37.
• Vitaly set his fastest lap, a 1min 36.308secs, on lap 40
• Nick and Vitaly swap places in the drivers’ championship standings, with Nick 8th and Vitaly 9th.
Nick Heidfeld, P8, R31-04:
“We saw on Saturday that this would be a tough weekend but as usual I said ‘never give up.’ I had a good start, but the first few corners were incredibly tight and I was happy to get through them without any damage to the car. The big question for the race was when to change from the intermediates to the slicks and we were one of the first to do this. It was a good call, however we didn’t get as much of an advantage as you can sometimes get from timing your stop well. After that it was an interesting race for me as I had to look after my tyres and at the same time I had to attack and also defend at different times, particularly with Michael and Adrian. Finding the balance between attacking, fighting and not killing the tyres was not only very satisfying, but it also worked out well for us with four valuable points.”
Vitaly Petrov, P12, R31-05:
“It was not a difficult drive today, however I found it tough running with the intermediate tyres. I lost some positions and was unable to protect myself because the traction was very poor and other cars were able to pass me like I was not there. The DRS section was not helpful at all; they should change its position on the track because it just wasn’t possible for me to overtake here at Silverstone. I was very close to Adrian (Sutil) but just could not get past, so that was a big frustration. Even on the back straight, there was not enough KERS to overtake so it would be better to put DRS there. My speed was not too bad, I was quite quick but I felt helpless out there.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal and Managing Director:
“Firstly, it was good for Nick to recover from 16th on the grid to 8th position when he crossed the line, so the general feeling with his drive was quite positive because we had the right strategy with him. There is, however, a general sense of disappointment from this weekend because we did not have a good qualifying; we had our worst qualifying of the season here. This weekend we have not been able to reverse a poor period we are currently going through and we will continue to work hard to rectify this. We have some good developments coming, which unfortunately were not available for Silverstone but will be ready when we reach Nürburgring. These will take our performance forward, of that I am convinced.”
James Allison, Technical Director:
We’ll accept eighth place having started from 16th, however, it’s not where we want to finish. Nick drove a strong race to get this result with a car that is clearly off the pace at the moment. It was also a good drive from Vitaly to finish 12th. We were in trouble on the intermediate tyres and everyone could see it. Once we were on slicks we made inroads into the other cars and although the pace was poor, it was better relative to the opposition than it had been in qualifying. We scored four points after what has been a disappointing weekend. We can now put this performance behind us, having not lost too much ground to the teams around us. Our focus is now on the succession of upgrades that will be implemented to the car from Nürburgring onwards. This should bring us back up where we ought to be.
Ricardo Penteado, LRGP Engine Support Leader, Renault Sport F1:
“Not a bad race considering our starting positions. Nick made a great start from 16th, which really put him back in the race. The conditions were also pretty difficult and keeping track of the changing levels of grip was tricky, so 8th at the end is a good result. Vitaly only finished 1.5 seconds away from the points after a very strong start. Unfortunately he didn’t manage to keep his position after his first lap battle. It’s been a hard weekend but from the engine side everything worked very well and we now need to look to the Nürburgring where hopefully we can put a strong weekend performance together.”