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Formula 1

Incidents on opening laps limit Renault’s points haul

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Poor starts for both Renault’s meant that they left Barcelona with just four points, although the team showed good pace throughout the weekend and are looking forward to Monaco next weekend.

Robert Kubica started seventh but could only finished eighth after some incident filled opening laps. I didn't have a good first lap and that compromised the rest of my race,” said the Pole. “I actually made a good start and was fighting with Massa through turn one but unfortunately the car snapped sideways when I got on the power. Then, in turn three, I touched Kobayashi which damaged the front wing and cost me some places.

“I was struggling with quite a lot of understeer because of the damage, but the field was so tight that we didn't have time to change the wing during the pit stop without losing a position. After that, I was able to attack Sutil and the car felt quite competitive in spite of the damage. But everybody knows how difficult it is to overtake here so there was no chance to pass him. Even so, the pace has been good this weekend and that's been a nice surprise. Now we need to look forward to Monaco.

Vitaly Petrov just missed out on his second F1 points finish after he came home in eleventh. The Russian started from 19th owing to a five-place grid penalty for changing his gear box before qualifying. “I'm pleased to finish a race in dry conditions,” said Petrov, “although it was a shame to miss out on points. At the start of the race I decided it was better to be cautious because the first corner was very busy with a lot of cars all around me. I didn't gain any places but I knew I needed to stay out of trouble and avoid damaging the car.

“The rest of the race was quite straightforward: the team did a good job today, the balance was consistent and I had a nice battle with Kobayashi. Monaco's next and I'm really looking forward to driving an F1 car there for the first time. But, more than ever, it will be important to have a weekend without mistakes if we want to score points.

Eric Boullier, Renault team principal, thinks that the team should have been able to collect more points this weekend. “It was a tough afternoon for us and today's race shows us once again that the key this year is to qualify well and have a good start: if you don't, it's very difficult to score points. Robert delivered another strong performance, although he was unlucky to touch Kobayashi on the opening lap. Without that, we think he could have gained a couple of positions compared to qualifying.

“As for Vitaly, I'm pleased that he has finished his first race in the dry and he now has some more valuable experience. He showed good pace which is encouraging for the future. He finished the day as the strongest rookie, but he's aiming much higher than that. We know that if he can qualify strongly, he will do a very good job.”

Chief Race Engineer Alan Permane also felt the team were unlucky not to have done better in Barcelona. “We have come away with four points, but today's result is still disappointing. Robert lost three places on the opening lap and, although we managed to get one back at the pit stop, he spent the rest of the race stuck in traffic. However he pushed hard all afternoon and the car showed good pace.

“Vitaly also had a solid race and did a strong job to finish 11th after starting 19th. It's some more valuable experience for him in dry conditions, but it was always going to be difficult to finish in the points at a track where overtaking is so difficult.”

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