Lotus Renault press release
LRGP took ninth position in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps, showing promising pace from the R31 with its latest upgrade package running for the first time in dry conditions. Vitaly Petrov battled with a late brake issue to come home in the top ten, whilst Bruno Senna finished in 13th on his LRGP debut
Vitaly Petrov, P9, R31-05
“I think we’ve made a big step forward with the car, and you can see that I was in top ten contention for all of the race - and close to the Mercedes - so we need to keep working in this direction. Our strategy was good, however we lost out on our top speed which meant I found it very difficult to overtake. The car was very strong on the corners, and we were very good on the brakes until I had issues at the end. For the final laps I was driving differently to compensate for the brake concerns, but unfortunately I spun right at the end as I had totally lost my front brakes. Looking at the performance of the weekend, overall I’m quite happy.”
Bruno Senna, P13, R31-01
“Unfortunately I made a mistake in the first corner, which cost me the chance of really causing a stir at the top end for the remainder of the race. So, firstly I would like to say sorry to Jaime (Alguersuari) for that. I made a mistake in the braking area, so that meant I slipped back and couldn’t compete where I wanted to; this left me quite lonely at the back for a while! However, once I’d paid the price with the drive through penalty I was able to start making some progress and my race pace was actually quite strong, so I kept pushing and was pleased with how I drove from then on. Obviously I would like to have finished higher, considering my grid position, but I’ve now got a good pace to build on and take me through to Monza, which is another of my favourite tracks. We’ll sit down and learn where we can improve but the foundations are there.”
Importantly, we have at least returned to the points with Vitaly’s ninth position
Eric Boullier, Team Principal and Managing Director
“I take mixed feelings from today because we suffered from a difficult first corner, which prevented us from scoring more points. Having said that, both Vitaly and Bruno drove a respectable race from this point on, and ensured we would take something away from this weekend. Importantly, we have at least returned to the points with Vitaly’s ninth position. It’s good to see that we’ve improved our pace, and there are clear indications that some of our vigour has re-emerged following some tricky races recently. This weekend has acted as a real building block for Monza, and I’m glad to say that spirits are higher than they have been for a while.”
We had a problem with Vitaly’s brakes at the end – possibly one of the front discs – causing a big vibration
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer
“It was good for us to get back in the points again, but it was a disappointing afternoon as I felt we had the pace to achieve better than we did. Bruno slipped up on his first corner, and this damaged his first set of tyres which set the scene for the rest of his race. Looking over his weekend, he did a fantastic job yesterday and it was always going to be a very difficult indoctrination racing on these tyres in dry conditions for the first time at this circuit. Vitaly had good pace but unfortunately there wasn’t the straight-line speed, even with the DRS, to overtake even if we were clearly faster than the Force India at the end of the race. We had a problem with Vitaly’s brakes at the end – possibly one of the front discs – causing a big vibration and unfortunately on the last corner of the last lap he spun. On a positive note it’s very clear that we’ve improved the car with new parts and the updates have shown clear improvements.”
Ricardo Penteado, LRGP Engine Support Leader, Renault Sport F1
“Spa is one of the hardest tracks for the engine, with over 70% of the lap spent at full throttle. It put the engines under extreme pressure, which is why we put new units in for maximum power. Engine-wise it’s been a very good weekend with high top speed down the long straights and a return to the top 10 in qualifying for both cars. The race was looking promising after the performance yesterday but Bruno unfortunately had the accident at the start and had to convert his race to a learning experience. Vitaly was unfortunate to lose eighth at the end with a brake problem but it’s still two valuable points to open the second half of the year.”
Did you know?
• Bruno completed the third most laps this weekend: 110.
• Vitaly stopped on laps 12 and 30, using a soft, soft, hard strategy.
• Bruno stopped on laps 1 and 21, using a soft, soft, hard strategy.