Vitaly Petrov: "It was good experience to race with the top teams" Vitaly, looking back to Turkey, you came very close to scoring points. Sum up your feelings after such a promising performance I have mixed feelings about Turkey because even...
Vitaly Petrov: "It was good experience to race with the top teams"
Vitaly, looking back to Turkey, you came very close to scoring points. Sum up your feelings after such a promising performance
I have mixed feelings about Turkey because even though it was a good race for me, I was disappointed to end up without any points. All the way through the weekend I was consistent and felt comfortable with the car. In qualifying I made it into Q3 for the first time, which was my target and this was an important step for me. Then, in the race, everything was going perfectly until the incident with Alonso, which caused the puncture.
Did it feel satisfying to race on terms with the Ferraris?
Of course, but it would have been even more satisfying to finish in the points. The car felt very good in the race and I was able to keep pace with the cars around me, especially Massa who I was pushing hard for most of the race. All the cars in the train were very close and it was good experience for me to race with the top teams.
Are you looking forward to the next race in Montreal?
It will be a totally new experience for me because I have never been to Canada before. So it's a new country and a new track for me to discover. I've been told that there is always a good atmosphere in the city and that the public really support the race so I'm looking forward to experiencing that.
What are your expectations for the race?
First of all I just want to get there and see how things go in practice before I start setting myself targets. I need to get a feel for the car and learn the track so that is the priority. It's a track with lots of big braking zones and chicanes, so I think it will suit the R30 because our car is easy to drive and is good at jumping over the kerbs. I will be targeting the top ten in qualifying and we'll see what happens in the race.
Robert Kubica: "I think the car will be strong in Canada"
Robert, you continued your run of points finishes in Turkey. Were you happy with the performance of the car?
It was a good race and I enjoyed driving the car. We had some balance issues in practice, but I had a much better feeling with the car during the race. The only disappointment was that we didn't get ahead of Mercedes because we are still missing a couple of tenths in order to beat them in qualifying. Right now we have to get everything perfect to jump ahead of them, but I think our race pace is quite similar, maybe even quicker, so it's important we close the gap. We have some more updates coming along in the next few races, which I hope will give us a chance to do that.
Are you looking forward to going back to Canada?
I'm glad that after a year's break we are returning to Montreal. I enjoy driving there and I like the characteristics of the track. It's kind of a mix between a high and low-speed track because there are big braking zones and some long straights where top speed is important. We haven't been to a track with these characteristics yet, so we will have to wait and see how all the teams perform there. Also, because it's not a permanent track, the grip level changes quite quickly during the weekend and you can push more with each lap, which always feels nice.
What are realistic expectations for the weekend?
I think the car should work well in Montreal so I'm quite confident we can go there and get a strong result. I'll be aiming to score good points, as we have done all season, which is very important for our position in the championship. It would be great if we could repeat the performance we showed in Monaco and fight for the podium, but if it's not possible I will simply concentrate on getting the maximum from the car and bringing home as many points as I can.
James Allison: "We're creeping forward race by race"
James, it was another strong showing from the team in Turkey and more points for Robert. Were you satisfied with the team's performance?
It was obviously very encouraging to have both cars qualify in the top ten and to see them both perform well in the race. But it was frustrating to see both our drivers penned in for the whole afternoon behind the Mercedes and it would have been interesting to see their speed in clean air. In the end we narrowly missed out on getting both cars in the points, but on the whole it was a pretty satisfying weekend.
Talking of the battle with Mercedes, you must be pleased at how the team has closed the gap compared to the start of the season?
We started the year a reasonable amount behind Mercedes and we've gradually been hunting them down. Robert was ahead of both Mercedes for the first time in Monaco, but it's not a typical track, so it was encouraging to see us breathing down their necks at Istanbul Park. It confirms the progress we've made to get on terms with them and if we can maintain our current development rate, I'm confident we can move ahead of them soon.
Robert continues to show amazing consistency this year. It must feel great to have such a dependable driver...
I don't think Robert has made a single significant mistake so far this year. He's locked up the odd wheel here and there, but during the races he has been pretty much faultless. Having a driver who can maintain a very fast and consistent pace is just what any team needs and it's something we're very happy about.
Vitaly delivered a very mature drive in Turkey, although he just missed out on points. Are you happy with how he is developing as an F1 driver?
Vitaly's performance in Turkey showed us what he is capable of. He was on the pace from the opening laps in free practice and he maintained that all the way through the weekend. He managed to keep Robert pretty honest during the race and he can be very proud of his performance.
We often talk about the effort going on back in Enstone, but can you give us an idea of just how busy it is from day to day?
It's absolutely flat out all the time. Over the last few months it has been every bit as busy as the most intense period of the new car build during the winter. And that intensity will continue for the rest of the year. This workload is felt at all levels in the team: the factory take up the continuous, unrelenting pressure of delivering the new parts, and the race team then shoulder the burden of fitting them at the circuit and ensuring that we get the most from them in the races. It's tiring work for all concerned and we don't underestimate how much we're asking from people, but the rewards come from seeing the fruits of all our labour on the track as we creep forward race by race.
Looking ahead to Montreal, how do you expect the R30 to perform there?
I think we will be in reasonable shape. There are aspects of the track that will suit us very well. Most of the corners are low speed and you need to be able to hammer across the kerbs quite aggressively, which is something the R30 is good at. The circuit is also very demanding on the brakes, but we are confident that we will be able to attack the circuit even on the very heavy fuel loads that are run in 2010. We will have further updates to the car and I would hope that we can take another step forward in Canada.