• Indian Grand Prix - Qualifying

Senna suspects car problem

Laurence Edmondson at the Buddh International Circuit
October 29, 2011 « Sutil says eighth was 'maximum' | Hamilton vows to 'eliminate' distractions in 2012 »
Bruno Senna: "I feel there appears to be some small issues with the downforce on our car " © Sutton Images
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Bruno Senna was at a loss to explain his lack of pace in qualifying at the Indian Grand Prix but suspects there could be a problem with the car.

He will start 14th once Vitaly Petrov's five-place grid penalty from the Korean Grand Prix is factored in, but could not understand why he struggled to qualify higher after having three good practice sessions earlier in the weekend.

"In the morning everything was well and then unfortunately in the afternoon things went a bit belly up," he said. "But we're still looking at it. I feel there appears to be some small issues with the downforce on our car and on a high-speed circuit like this, where you are all the time on the limit, this makes you pay big time.

"So it's been a bit of a difficult one. Obviously it puts you down a lot when you are confident and you suddenly have a hit like that, but until you study more in to it and you understand what's happening ... you just have to work to fix it for tomorrow. I think we have a better race car than the guys around us so if we can be maybe five positions forward in the race tomorrow it will be a good victory."

However Renault technical director Alan Permane said that Senna's performance was more likely down to a change in track conditions rather than something to do with the car.

"Bruno noticed that the balance was not perfect; he said the car was too much on the nose. Maybe the track was a bit dusty at the beginning of the session, but it certainly cleaned up and I'm surprised it didn't get easier.

He added: "The immediate reaction is one of disappointment. We never really saw the best of Bruno. Vitaly, meanwhile, had the pace in Q1 to make it through to Q3 but he just did not manage a proper lap in Q2 which is disappointing. The car definitely had the pace to stake its place in the final session, but we were unable to capitalise on that potential."

Petrov admitted he made mistake in Q2 which cost him a place in Q3.

"I was a little bit off my times in Q2, and I wasn't able to better my Q1 time because I made a couple of minor errors on the last couple of corners. Combine that with the fact that the other teams' times improved and you have the reason for why I did not make Q3.Tomorrow's the first ever Indian GP so it is very much an open book in terms of what could happen. Even with my five place penalty, I remain optimistic that I can salvage a respectable result for the team."