British Grand Prix Qualifying – Lotus Renault GP
You stole the sun from my heart – British GP, Saturday 9 July
In changeable weather conditions at the new-look Silverstone, Vitaly and Nick were unable to secure top 10 positions on tomorrow’s grid after qualifying in P12 and P16 respectively.
• Vitaly fell two-tenths short a place in the top 10.
• Nick Q1: Hard, Soft (new), Q2: Soft (Scrubs), Soft (New)
• Vitaly Q1: Hard, Soft (new), Q2: Soft (Scrubs), Soft (New)
Vitaly Petrov, P14, R31-05, 1:32.734
“I am disappointed, as we all came here with much higher expectations. The rain has disturbed things this weekend, there’s no doubt about that. Today again, the weather has made it very difficult. As a result, we could not unlock our potential and secure the flying lap that we would have needed. Having said that, the car feels very strong and fast in high speed corners so I still remain optimistic that we can gain quite a few places in the race tomorrow. I hope our strategy is effective, because the DRS sector is not very long and overtaking opportunities here are limited. We will need to be very much on our game to take our performance up, but we are up to the challenge.”
Nick Heidfeld, P16, R31-04, 1:33.805
“At this stage, it’s still difficult to see how much effect the changes made to the mapping rules had on our performance this weekend. It had an impact, of course, but our feeling is that today’s situation is the result of several factors. The rain did make our preparations difficult, also. The car is not bad to drive and it does not seem slow, we’ve just not been in a position to fully exploit it. We struggled with the rear wing yesterday and then this morning, changed it for qualifying that hopefully worked better but obviously disappointed to only be in P16.”
Qualifying Debrief with James Allison, Technical Director:
James, your verdict on what was a very disappointing Silverstone Saturday for LRGP?
The alterations to the engine rules have clearly upset the order somewhat, but that’s not where all our focus lies. The fact is that for the past three or four races we have been on a trend that is far from impressive and, at this event, we have been showing far less performance than we should be showing with our car and of the efforts of our team and partners. We need to pick ourselves up from here and get a lot of the forthcoming developments, because P14 and P16 are simply not good enough. We missed the top ten by a very small margin today but we’ve got upgrades to come for Germany which are worth three-tenths, even more tenths for the race after that. So, we’ve got to grind that out and put the car in a position that is more reflective of where we should be.
Has it been difficult with the poor weather to understand the impact the engine mapping changes have had?
It has made it awkward but it’s been like this for everyone, so that’s no justification for underperforming like we have over the past two days.
What can be done tomorrow?
We’ve benefited from the fact that we’ve saved an extra set of tyres, so there’s a silver lining to the cloud! The tyres will be precious tomorrow, there’s no doubt of that. The soft (option) tyre is the right one to be racing on, and the degradation is high, so rather like in Spain and at other tracks this season having a virgin set is quite a good thing. We’ve got to get a good start and then make the most of the leverage that things like that extra set will give us.
• Did you know?
This will be Nick’s 11th British Grand Prix in 12 seasons of Formula One racing; last year was the only time he had not competed at Silverstone.