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12 June 2011

Lotus Renault GP: Canadian Formula One Grand Prix 2011

Friday, 10 June 2011

Free Practice 1

Nick Heidfeld, R31-04
Free Practice 1: P9, 1:17.445, 28 laps

Vitaly Petrov, R31-05
Free Practice 1: P14, 1:18.506, 15 laps

Nick Heidfeld led the way for Lotus Renault GP on a sunny first session of free practice for the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Using chassis R31-04, Nick had a busy 90 minutes of action and set the 9th fastest time with a lap of 1m 17.445s. By contrast, Vitaly Petrov spent much of the session in the garage as the team worked to rectify issues with the radio and throttle pedal on his R31-05 chassis. Vitaly finally went out to put in some timed laps in the final 15 minutes of the session, recording a best of 1m 18.506s, good enough for 14th place.

The session was briefly interrupted by a red flag for an accident involving Sebastian Vettel at the circuit’s famous ‘Wall of Champions’. a part of the track that has claimed so many legends down the years.

At the front, Nico Rosberg set the fastest time with a lap of 1m15.591s in his Mercedes, ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari and the other Mercedes of Michael Schumacher.

Tyre evaluation will be the focus of this afternoon’s 90 minute practice as the drivers assess Pirelli’s soft and supersoft compounds. The track surface is always green in the first session because it is so rarely used but it improves markedly over the course of the weekend.

Free Practice 2

Nick Heidfeld, R31-04
Free Practice 1: P9, 1:17.445, 28 laps
Free Practice 2: P9, 1:16.422, 32 laps

Vitaly Petrov, R31-05
Free Practice 1: P14, 1:18.506, 15 laps
Free Practice 2: P8, 1:16.324, 32 laps

Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld continued their preparations for the Canadian Grand Prix during an interrupted second session of free practice.

Two red flags disrupted the afternoon but the two LRGP drivers made the best of the time available to try out both the soft and the supersoft compounds on different fuel levels. Vitaly ended up 8th with a time of 1m 16.324s, with Nick 9th after a lap of 1m 16.422s.

Vitaly summed it up: “It’s a different car to drive with supersofts: much more grip.”

Just like this morning, there was a red flag in the middle of the session as Kamui Kobayashi crashed his Sauber at Turn 4. Shortly after the restart, Jérôme D’Ambrosio followed him into the same wall in his Virgin, causing another stoppage. Adrian Sutil had earlier damaged his Force India in the armco barriers on the run-up to the hairpin.

Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, put his Ferrari on top of the timesheets. Just as happened two weeks ago, the Spaniard led the session for the majority of the afternoon with a lap of 1m 15.107s, ahead of Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

Elsewhere Pedro de la Rosa took the place of Sergio Perez in the other Sauber as the Mexican reported he felt unwell after his heavy crash in Monaco.

Saturday 11 June 2011

Free Practice 3

Vitaly Petrov, R31-05
P8, 1:14.917, 23 laps

Nick Heidfeld, R31-04
P12, 1:15.350, 22 laps

Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld completed their preparations for the Canadian Grand Prix with a productive third session of free practice ahead of this afternoon’s hour of qualifying.

Vitaly and Nick ran as high as third and fourth early in the hour. On the ‘prime’ soft tyre, Vitaly set a best time of 1m 15.819s, while Nick was less than a hundredth away with 1m 15.827s.

In the last ten minutes, both drivers put on the supersoft tyre and Vitaly duly improved to 8th place with a lap of 1m 14.917s, while Nick went 12th with 1m 15.350s.

Sebastian Vettel topped the times with a late lap of 1m 13.381s, jumping ahead of Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg, who had led for much of the session. Felipe Massa was third ahead of Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher.

There was a dramatic end when Pedro de la Rosa spun into the barriers in his Sauber in the final minute, bringing out yet another red flag to add to yesterday’s three stoppages.


Nick Heidfeld, R31-04
P9, 1.14.062, 7 laps

Vitaly Petrov, R31-05
P10, 1.14.085, 7 laps

LRGP will have two cars in the top ten for tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix after a strong qualifying session at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve today.

In weather that was markedly different from yesterday’s free practice, overcast skies meant that the track temperature was well down from the sunny conditions at 25°C. But both LRGP drivers made it through to Q3, with Nick Heidfeld lining up in 9th place and Vitaly Petrov securing 10th.

In Q1 both Vitaly and Nick were comfortably able to progress and both put in two runs on the soft tyres, saving their supersofts. Vitaly’s best time of 1m 14.699s was good enough for 7th place while Nick’s 1m 15.096s left him in 12th. Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari was fastest in that session with a lap of 1m 13.822s.

Vitaly’s early lap of 1m 14.354s on the supersoft tyres in Q2 was good enough to reach the all-important top ten. Nick was also in the top ten early on after a lap of 1m 14.719s but he went out for a second run to make sure of a place in Q3, duly recording a final lap of 14.467s. Felipe Massa went fastest with a time of 1m 13.431s in the Ferrari.

In the all-important final shoot-out, Sebastian Vettel took pole position for Red Bull with a lap of 1m 13.041s ahead of the Ferraris of Alonso and Massa. Nick took 9th place with a lap of 1m 14.062s while Vitaly took 10th with a lap of 1m 14.085s.


Sunday, 12 june 2011

In a race packed full of pit stops, LRGP advanced on yesterday’s qualifying positions by finishing in P7 (Nick) and P8 (Vitaly). After scoring another 10 valuable points, Lotus Renault GP remains fourth in the Constructors Championship.

• Both Nick and Vitaly adopted a four-stop strategy: soft / hard / hard / hard / soft
• Vitaly stopped on laps 8, 19, 34, and 45. Nick stopped on laps 10, 22, 36 and 46.
• Nick and Vitaly are now on equal points in the Drivers Championship – 21 points.

Vitaly Petrov, P8, R31-04
“It was an interesting race, and strategically it was challenging for all the teams. I think what really affected my position today was the collision with Michael early in the race. He hit my car and then I was stuck behind some slower drivers after the first pit stop. If this had not happened, my race would have been much stronger and I could have pulled away. However, I was pleased to overtake Sebastien (Buemi) at the end, which took me back into eighth. We must be positive, we have both cars in the points and it’s another ten points for the team.”

Nick Heidfeld, P7, R31-03
'It’s always good to score points, but I think I could have finished even higher up today, even though I started in P9. I am not totally happy with the race -I was stuck in traffic for quite a while, overtaking was difficult and Vitaly made contact with me- but my pace was good, especially at the end of the race when the car was light on the soft tyres. I also think our strategy was the right one. Overall, to finish in P7 and take six points for the team is good, given that I did not qualify in a higher position.”

Eric Boullier, Team Principal and Managing Director
“Today, going for four pit stops was the right decision. There was no spectacular start from our cars but we pitted at the right time to ensure both drivers finished in the points. We definitely need to work harder on Fridays to understand the tyre degradation, which will allow us to know where we stand for the rest of the weekend. From here, we will push even more as the result today was not as strong as it could have been – we will be striving to get back into the top six. ”

James Allison, Technical Director
“Today we opted for a four stop rather than a three stop race, and the balance of the evidence suggests that was the right choice. In all honesty, I feel satisfied rather than happy with today’s performance - satisfied because our finishing places in the race were stronger than our qualifying positions, but not happy because the gap between us and the cars that finished on the podium was too large. We have more improvements planned for the car and we will be aiming for top six finish or better in the coming races at Barcelona and Monaco.”

Riccardo Penteado, LRGP Engine Support Leader, Renault Sport F1
“Another double points finish for Lotus Renault GP , which after the issues of the last race is a good result. We planned an aggressive strategy to try and catch Jenson (Button) at the end and fuel consumption was very high, even higher than in qualifying, so we were very tight on fuel with both cars. It almost worked and Nick wasn’t far away – just over a second. It was a shame that we got caught in the traffic and could not get ahead but the most important thing is that we got another 10 points and consolidated our position in the championship.”

To check out the classification, click here