The Renault F1 Team endured a frustrating Brazilian Grand Prix this afternoon at Interlagos. In spite of running sixth in the early stages of the race, after gaining a position at the start, Robert Kubica finished ninth – spending much of his race stuck in traffic and unable to show the car’s full potential. Vitaly Petrov’s race was ruined on the first lap, when he was forced off track to avoid an accident at turn two, putting him to the back of the field. He recovered from 23rd position to finish the race 16th.
Robert Kubica, P9
Robert: It was a tough race this afternoon. I spent every lap in traffic but I didn’t have enough of a performance advantage over Hülkenberg to get past: I was losing a lot of time in the low-speed corners, and I couldn’t use our top speed advantage because I was stuck on the rev limiter for a long time on the main straight, so couldn’t attack him. The other critical part of the race came just after my pit stop, when Hülkenberg and I were running behind my team-mate for a number of laps and we couldn’t make the most of our fresh tyres, which cost me a position to Schumacher.
Vitaly Petrov, P16
Vitaly: I made a bad start and was in the middle of a big pack of cars in the first corner. I tried to give everybody space, then at turn two I took a normal line but had to take avoiding action to not hit Alguersuari and cause an accident. That put me on the kerb and I dropped to the back of the field by the time I exited turn three. After that, there was nothing I could do but try and push, do my normal race and make up positions wherever possible.
Eric Boullier, Team Principal
We knew that we would have a tough battle with the cars around us today, but we didn’t take full advantage of our opportunities. Robert spent his entire afternoon in traffic and we weren’t able to get him out of it with strategy, while Vitaly’s race was essentially over on lap one. It’s disappointing after showing good performance at different points of the weekend, but we will now focus on the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi, and on finishing our season on a stronger note.
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer
This was not our finest race of the season. It was extremely frustrating for Robert to spend the whole race stuck behind Hülkenberg. In terms of strategy, we were left between a rock and a hard place on the call to stop Robert: Button and Massa had stopped for fresh tyres before us, and were making up time, so we pitted to cover them and try to get out in front. Unfortunately, Hülkenberg also chose to stop on the same lap and we simply followed him in and out of the pits, then Robert lost time running behind his team-mate for several laps. As for Vitaly, he made a poor start, then went off at turn two on the first lap, which ruined his race.
Rémi Taffin, Head of Engine Operations
First of all, congratulations to Red Bull-Renault on their championship success today, and particularly to our engineers who work with the team. The entire team at Viry, including our partners and suppliers, should be proud to have once again demonstrated that we are capable of building and supporting a world champion engine. As for Renault F1 Team’s race this afternoon, it was a disappointing one. We were capable of more but take home only two points. On the technical front, we had no problems, so the only answer is to work hard to achieve a better result in the season finale next weekend.