Two Renault RS27 engines on podium after thrilling Chinese Grand Prix
April 18, 2011
Two RS27 engines finished on the podium following a thrilling Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit. Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel passed the line in second position while Mark Webber had a storming drive from 18th on the grid to third at the chequered flag, just seven seconds from race winner Lewis Hamilton.
Lotus Renault GP’s Vitaly Petrov gave the RS27 a triple points finish in 9th overall, giving a total of 35 points for Renault Sport F1. Nick Heidfeld brought the second LRGP home in 12th overall, four positions up on his grid position. Team Lotus had a stunning Grand Prix, demonstrating great pace to race Williams and Sauber. Heikki Kovalainen finished in 16th position with Jarno Trulli 19th.
The result today continues Renault Sport F1’s run of podiums so far this year. Two RS27 engines have finished in the top three since the start of the year, and an RS27 has been on the podium at every race since the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Key race points
Red Bull Racing
Sebastian started from pole position and used a two stop strategy to pass the line in second. He faced a race long battle with the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, both of whom stopped three times. Sebastian took the lead on lap 24 and remained in control of the race until a second stop on lap 31. He was out in front until lap 52 when Hamilton squeezed past as Seb’s tyres faded.
Mark Webber had a stunning drive to the podium from 18th on the grid. He used a three stop strategy, starting on the hard tyres and moving to the options for the final part of the race to move up to 15th before his first stop. After a strong middle stint he was 11th, having overtaken the Saubers and Lotus Renault GP cars. He then surged through the midfield to be fourth with four laps remaining. He passed Button for third on lap 55 and finished on the podium, just seven seconds from Hamilton.
Lotus Renault GP
Vitaly achieved his second points’ scoring finish of the season with ninth position overall. After starting tenth on the grid the Russian used a two stop strategy and some aggressive driving to gain one position. Nick started 16th after a tough qualifying, but finished in 12th, also on a two stop strategy, less than 10 seconds from the points. On the final lap of the race he narrowly missed out on 11th after a clash with Force India’s Paul di Resta.
Team Lotus put in their most competitive race performance in the Chinese Grand Prix, with on-track racing battles with midfield teams Williams and Sauber. Heikki started from 19th, just ahead of Jarno in 20th, and both used a two stop strategy to finish in 16th and 19th. The strategy and pace put the drivers nose to nose with Maldonado and Perez, with both lapping at a similar pace. At the close of the race Heikki had overtaken the Mexican and finished just one lap down on winner Lewis Hamilton.
Rémi Taffin, head of Renault Sport F1 track operations, gives his views on the race weekend
A tough race for all of our partners, but we can be pleased with the overall results for RSF1, with all of the cars classified for the first time this season. We can also go home with a further three points scoring finishes and two podiums, with RBR retaining the lead of both championships.
Red Bull Racing had a good result yet again, keeping their run of podiums so far this year. Sebastian had an OK start, but without KERS it was always going to be difficult to keep the McLarens behind. This is something we’ll try to help RBR with in the coming weeks so we can optimise the entire race. Second position is still a great result – it’s more points and he still keeps the championship lead. Mark was perhaps the driver of the race, driving every lap like a qualifying lap, and to be third at the end, just seven seconds from the leader is a fantastic achievement.
A tough race for all of our partners, but we can be pleased with the overall results
Lotus Renault GP got some more points today and although the Grand Prix has been difficult in comparison to the other weekends so far 9th and 12th after qualifying is a good result. From our side we know we have a lot to look at to ensure that the problems in qualifying don’t occur again as the team is looking really competitive this season.
We would also like to congratulate our newest partners, Team Lotus, who achieved their first double finish of the year in style, with a genuine race in the midfield. They have as much ambition as we have so we’re confident that as the season goes on they will find more and more in the car.
Source: Renault Sport