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24 July 2011

Lotus Renault GP; comments on the German Formula One Grand Prix 2011

Friday, 22 July 2011
Vitaly Petrov led the way for Lotus Renault GP at a chilly and cloudy Nürburgring for the first practice session of the German Grand Prix.

Using chassis R31-05, Vitaly set the eleventh fastest time of the session with a lap of 1min 34.094secs. During the course of the ninety-minute session he used both of Pirelli’s white-marked medium and yellow-marked soft tyres. Late in the session, Vitaly changed front wing.

Nick, who in chassis R31-04 was running a different exhaust system from Vitaly, set the fifteenth fastest time of the morning. He used only Pirelli’s white-marked medium specification tyre.

Fastest in FP1 was Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso with a time of 1m 31.894secs.

Driving at his home Grand Prix, Nick reversed the trend of the first practice session by finishing the fastest of the two LRGP drivers, as the team returned to the track for the second practice session at the Nurburgring.

The German, who continued to use a different exhaust set-up, was eighth fastest in the session, posting a best time of 1min 33.098secs on Pirelli’s soft tyre compound.

During the ninety-minute spell, Nick managed some lap time on the soft compounds, unlike this morning when he drove only on the medium tyres.

Vitaly, meanwhile, set a time of 1min 33.138secs, which brought him home one place behind his teammate in ninth position. He ran on both the soft and medium compounds during the session.

Fastest in FP2 was Red Bull’s Mark Webber with a time of 1min 31.711secs.

Saturday, 23 July 2011
Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld completed their preparations for the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring in a cold and grey skied dry third session of free practice ahead of this afternoon’s hour of qualifying.

Both drivers ran with the medium compound for the majority of the 60 minutes running before switching to the soft compound late on.

Vitaly was just shy of setting a top ten time with a 1min 32.777secs giving him eleventh position on the monitors whilst Nick’s 1m 33.072secs was left him 13th quickest.

After yesterday experimenting with a rearward direction exhaust experimental system on Nick’s car, today both R31s ran with the forward facing system which has been used all season.

Sebastian Vettel topped the times with a 1m 30.916s to head Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso.

Vitaly Petrov led the charge for LRGP in qualifying for the German Grand Prix by getting through to the final Q3 session and setting the ninth fastest time for tomorrow’s race at the Nürburgring.

Vitaly’s earlier Q2 lap displaced Nick from then tenth place, meaning that no further time remaining in that session the German was unable to put in another time so will start from P11 for his home Grand Prix.

Grey clouds above made strong suggestions of precipitation potential but never delivered on their threats as both of LRGP’s drivers set their fastest laps today using Pirelli’s soft compound yellow-marked P-Zero tyres.

Mark Webber set pole position with a time of 1min 30.079secs and will be joined on tomorrow’s front row by Lewis Hamilton.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

LRGP was fighting with one hand behind its back after an early bath for Nick Heidfeld whilst Vitaly Petrov put in a gritty performance to take tenth and a point in the German Grand Prix.

Vitaly Petrov, P10, R31-05
“Well, it’s another point gained today, but really we need to analyse exactly why we lost positions out there, and why we didn’t come in to the pits earlier to fight with the group in front. The start was good and I had some decent battles, including with Jenson (Button) and Michael (Schumacher), but the main thing is we need to look at why the likes of Sauber and Force India are finishing higher than us, and correct it as soon as possible. We must now concentrate on Hungary and getting some good points there before the summer break.”

Nick Heidfeld, DNF, R31-04,
“I was squeezed at the start and sandwiched in the second corner. Heading into the third corner Paul di Resta was on the outside. I locked up my front wheels and tried to avoid him but just slid into him as there was nowhere to go. After that I was trying very hard to make up positions and I overtook some cars before I was behind Sébastien Buemi. He blocked the left hand side, as he is allowed to do, but when I went to his right hand side he just moved over on me. He must have known I was there. I had a lot more speed than him and was on my way to pass. He just didn’t give me any room and pushed me on to the grass and after that there was nothing I could do. It was an accident which couldn’t be avoided. It’s never nice being up in the air in one of these cars and it could have been dangerous.”

Eric Boullier, Team Principal and Managing Director
“Obviously this is a disappointing day for us. We had a reasonable qualifying yesterday, which was definitely a step forward from Silverstone, and we were looking to launch a strong assault on the points today from P9 and P11. Firstly, Nick was unlucky; after falling back to 22nd position he was ploughing his way through the field and, by the time he moved into 16th place, he was trying to overtake Sebastien (Buemi) but ran out of room and went off-track which cut his race short. Vitaly also had a tough race but stuck it out with a determined drive to come home in P10. We are looking to finish much stronger than we did today but, having said that, one point is better than none and we must now look at how we improve in time for Budapest.”

James Allison, Technical Director
“A disappointing race with Nick out early after a start which meant a very difficult race in any case and Vitaly scoring a point but achieving less than we thought possible and hoped for. It was not really where we hoped to be at the end of the weekend so we have to keep our noses to the grindstone and make the car quicker as that’s what will bring the points. There are a couple of minor revisions to the R31 for Budapest but we have greater changes for the races which follow.”

Ricardo Penteado, LRGP Engine Support Leader, Renault Sport F1
“Getting the right engine settings for the Nürburgring can be tricky on account of the changeable track and ambient conditions. We got a decent balance today and Vitaly drove a good race to score another point, which is very important to keep us in touch with Mercedes in the constructors’ championship. Nick could have scored a good amount of points as well so the accident with Buemi was really unfortunate. We’ve got the Hungaroring in just a week though, which places very different demands on the engine, so we’re going to put all our efforts into this to finish the first part of the season on a high.”