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27 August 2011

Lotus Renault GP: Belgian Formula One GP 2011

26 August 2011

Free Pactice 1

Bruno Senna opened his Lotus Renault GP account alongside Vitaly Petrov at the renowned Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.

In damp conditions, both drivers started with the medium compound before switching to inters as weather conditions worsened.

The Brazilian set the session’s 23rd fastest time, completing a lap in 2min 14.340secs when on the intermediate tyres. It was following this that he slid off the track, as his car rear collided with the tyre wall, bringing a premature end to his session.

Meanwhile, his Russian counterpart finished one place ahead of him in 22nd. Vitaly took to the track and set a time of 2min 13.601secs also on the intermediate Pirelli compound.

On the 20th anniversary of his Formula 1 career, veteran Michael Schumacher set the fastest time of 1min 54.355s ahead of team mate Nico Rosberg and Britain’s Jenson Button.

FP2

Bruno Senna emerged as the faster Lotus Renault GP race driver after ongoing variable weather conditions at the Spa Francorchamps circuit during the second practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Bruno enjoyed a trouble-free run to set a 1min 53.835secs lap whilst Vitaly Petrov had his session curtailed as the team investigated an issue with the power steering system on his R31.

Bruno ended the day with the 17th fastest time of the session, despite being baulked when the circuit was drying; Vitaly missed out on setting a lap time on dry tyres due to his steering investigation, and ended the session with the 24th fastest time, set on intermediate tyres.

Both drivers used the soft slick Pirelli and the intermediate tyres, Bruno also used the wet tyre during the course of the 90 minutes.

On the eve of his 35th birthday, Mark Webber set the fastest lap time of the session, a 1min 50.321secs, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.


27 August 2011

FP3

Bruno Senna headed Lotus Renault GP team-mate Vitaly Petrov in Saturday morning’s FP3 session ahead of qualifying at Spa Francorchamps for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Bruno posted a time of 2min 11.664secs in difficult variable wet conditions, using Pirelli’s intermediate tyre. Vitaly posted a 2min 13.290secs using the same rubber specification.

The session start was accompanied by an intensification of rainfall at the Ardennes track, meaning that both of Pirellis rain tyres were used, the full wet followed by the intermediate.

On his 35th birthday, Mark Webber showed his birthday presence with the session’s fastest time, a 2min 08.988secs, heading Lewis Hamilton and Jaime Alguersuari.

Qualifying

Bruno Senna qualified a superb seventh in his debut qualifying for Lotus Renault GP in treacherous conditions in Spa Francorchamps for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Bruno kept a level-head as his R31 danced over the difficult conditions brought about by the notoriously fickle Ardennes weather, using first intermediate tyres through Q1 and Q2, and then soft slicks in Q3 to emerge with his best-ever F1 qualifying performance with a 1min 51.121secs lap.

Vitaly Petrov fell foul of a spin on what could have been his fastest lap in Q3, but nevertheless will line up in tenth position for tomorrow’s Grand Prix after setting a 1min 52.303secs lap

Reigning Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel will start from pole position for tomorrow’s race, taking pole with a time of 1min 48.298secs. Lewis Hamilton will line up alongside Vettel and birthday boy Mark Webber behind.

28 August 2011

Race

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 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.
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.”

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.”

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.”