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Petrov encouraged by updated Renault

ESPNF1 Staff
August 29, 2011 « Whitmarsh defends Hamilton's crash record | »
Vitaly Petrov was pleased with the improvements made by the updated R31 © Getty Images

Vitaly Petrov says that Renault has "made a big step forward with the car" after he finished ninth in the Belgian Grand Prix.

Renault has been struggling since opening the season with consecutive podiums in Melbourne and Sepang, culminating in Nick Heidfeld being replaced and the team introducing what Eric Boullier described as "quite comprehensive" updates in order to try and challenge Mercedes once again. After scoring points in his first race with the updated car, Petrov was pleased with how competitive he had been.

"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," Petrov said. "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."

Petrov was running in eighth place until the final lap when he lost out to Felipe Massa, and he confirmed that the brake problem had forced him in to a mistake, but still felt encouraged with the result.

"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."