Circuit de Catalunya
An action-packed Spanish qualifying session amid hot conditions at the Circuit de Cataluña resulted in Vitaly securing P6 on tomorrow’s grid.
With just over two minutes remaining of Q3, Vitaly came out onto the track to secure a time of 1min 22.471 seconds. The Russian finished ahead of both Mercedes cars and Felipe Massa to claim the position and put him in contention at the top end for tomorrow’s race.
Q&A with Vitaly Petrov
You set some fast times today, and finished strongly in Q3?
VP: Yes, I think we have to be proud of our performance and the result we managed today, especially because yesterday it was difficult with the KERS issues in P1 and P2. We did not manage top ten then but we improved today and I managed to get P6 on tomorrow’s grid. I could have got an even higher position but I had a poor second section. Still, I’m pleased going into tomorrow’s race.
How did the car feel to drive today?
VP: I enjoyed driving today and the balance felt very good, which was important. I didn’t sense any issues of understeer or oversteer and generally I’m very happy with how it drove.
What do you make of the tyres you are using, and the level of degradation?
VP: The super hard compound does feel much slower over a lap and during a long run, but on the softs I have been able to achieve some satisfying lap times so I can’t complain. It is clear here in Spain, as it has been in the races so far this season, that these tyres do degrade quite a lot so we can expect a very busy race tomorrow. I’m hopeful of achieving a strong result for the team.
Nick, meanwhile, was unfortunate in not being able to compete in the session despite the team working flat out to help him get out for Q1. Nick’s car was unable to continue after flames appeared in the morning’s FP3 session when the right exhaust became too hot and the car suffered a power failure.
Nick will start tomorrow’s race from the pitlane, whilst Vitaly will be looking to a strong start to challenge for some good points.
Nick Heidfeld, R31-04
Free Practice 3: P23, 1:29.200, 6 laps
Qualifying: No time set
Vitaly Petrov, R31-03
Free Practice 3: P8, 1:24.043, 18 laps
Qualifying: P6, 1.22.471, 14 laps
Source: Lotus Renault