• Spanish Grand Prix

Mixed afternoon for Renault

ESPNF1 Staff
May 22, 2011 « Sauber going in 'right direction' after double points finish | »
Nick Heidfeld fought through the field from 24th to finish eighth © Sutton Images

Renault team principal Eric Boullier admitted it was a bittersweet afternoon for the team as it scored only three points at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Vitaly Petrov started the race from sixth place and was running fifth for the first stint, but dropped backwards as the race went on and eventually finished out of the points in eleventh. Nick Heidfeld, however, made the most of his three sets of unused soft tyres to climb up through the field and finish eighth having started last. Boullier said that it led to mixed emotions for the team.

"I think frustrated is the right word to describe Vitaly's result, because yesterday he could have been even faster on his qualifying lap," Boullier said. "And then today, even when he was in a promising position at sixth on the grid, he dropped down some places, which was not what we expected. On the other hand, we are happy for Nick who came from the back of the grid to finish in eighth. He was chasing both Mercedes in the final lap, and he almost finished ahead of Nico (Rosberg), so all in all he had a good race."

Petrov himself admitted that he had not been able to capitalise on his starting position, but that Heidfeld's points were a bonus.

"I am naturally disappointed not to make better use of my grid position and not pick up some points," Petrov said. "It seems that my qualifying position had little effect for the race today, so we need to analyse in detail exactly why that happened. I managed to start ok and move up a position into fifth, but it was then difficult to get to the leading pack, which is where we want to be. But, this is one result and one result only and I want to put things right in Monaco, where qualifying will be extremely important. Of that there is little doubt. At least as a team we picked up some more points with Nick, so we must take the positives and move forwards."

Heidfeld said that he enjoyed the race as he experienced a lot of action on his way to making up 16 places, but was still slightly disappointed not to beat the Mercedes pair.

"I'm satisfied with eighth after starting from last position," Heidfeld said. "Just like in Turkey, with one or two laps more I could have gained one or two more positions from the two Mercedes, but it's still a good result if you look at where I started and everything that happened to the car over this weekend. I had a good start then I had to fight through the field with many overtaking moves so it was good fun for me behind the wheel. It's always encouraging to put in a strong performance, and I'm more happy and relaxed heading to Monaco."