• Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Petrov says he was right to defend his position

ESPNF1 Staff
November 15, 2010 « Hamilton would not switch to Red Bull | »

Vitaly Petrov said he had absolutely no choice as a racing driver but defend his position from Fernando Alonso even though the Ferrari driver was fighting tooth and nail for his third world title.

Alonso gesticulated angrily at Petrov on the slowing down lap for holding him up but Petrov defended his actions because he was in a race for valuable team points as well.

"I do my own racing. I did my race; I did the maximum performance that I could take for his race. I cannot just let one car pass me because it is racing," said Petrov. "Even Sebastian Vettel in 2008, he was behind [Lewis] Hamilton [in Brazil] and then he passed Lewis, who almost lost the championship. But he was lucky because [Timo] Glock was so slow. He also was not thinking about who he was battling with.

"So I did not do anything. I just tried to keep pushing. I just did my race. I know Ferrari is still quicker than us with the downforce, but this track is very difficult to overtake."

Alonso found himself behind Petrov in seventh position after a failed gamble to pit earlier for hard compound tyres backfired. According to Petrov, however, that was not his problem.

"He was angry of course. But what can I do? I did my race. If he got close enough to attack quite aggressively I would maybe not fight too much because I did not want to touch with him because he is fighting for the championship. He was just once close enough for attacking. I closed normally my position and then I was driving normally around the circuit, and he did not have any opportunity to overtake me, as this circuit does not give you any chance.

"It was my normal strategy and my normal racing position. I won't let anybody pass easily. I want to do my race. I want to show I have not come for just driving around for fun. I come here to work, so I don't want to lose this opportunity. I was not aggressive. It was simple, easy and nothing special."

Sebastian Vettel afterwards thanked Petrov for holding off Alonso and offered to buy him a drink. And with Petrov's seat at Renault still not confirmed for 2011, the Russian added that he should have got on the radio and asked the new world champion for payment.

"I just want to be champion myself. I don't think he needs to say thank you, because I did not do this for him, and I didn't want to disturb Fernando - I just wanted to do my job.

"But maybe I should have asked on my team radio, please ask Vettel how much he wants to pay me to help, and then we go to Ferrari and ask them the same too. Then whoever gives the most, we see!"