Renault had a very eventful grand prix in Montreal; Robert Kubica tussled with Michael Schumacher and was reprimanded for dangerous move on Adrian Sutil on his way to a seventh place finish and a fastest lap; Vitaly Petrov finished the race down in seventeenth, behind Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus, in a race where he needed a change of nose and served two drive-through penalties.
“The six points I got this afternoon were my toughest points of the year,” said Kubica, without a hint of exaggeration. “We chose to qualify on the prime tyre yesterday and hoped it would be an advantage in the first part of the race, but unfortunately it didn't work out. I had a lot of rear degradation in the first stint, which meant I pitted early, then the rear tyres went off in the second stint as well.
“But it was an action-packed race: I had a close battle with Michael after my first stop, and then with Sutil before my second one. I was racing him on my in-lap and we were side by side before the last corner.
“I was on the right, so I backed off and pulled behind him to take my line for the pits, but he braked very early and hard: I had to go round him to avoid causing an accident,” added the Pole, explaining his side of the incident which earned him a reprimand from the stewards after the race.
“At the end of the race, I did a short stint on the option tyre and I was pushing to close down the gap to Rosberg, but I ran out of laps even though I was catching him quickly.
“It was a tough race for me but I think we must be optimistic for Valencia: the circuit should suit our car, and we will have more new developments to help us improve our basic pace.”
Vitaly Petrov, who was racing in Montreal for the first time this weekend, was punished for a jump start, and off the line he managed to crash into the unfortunate Pedro de la Rosa, which earned him a second penalty. “My race was almost over at the start when I spun,” said the Russian. “I was trying to overtake on the right hand side when I got pushed out onto the grass and lost the car, which put me at the back of the field. I was lucky that I only damaged the front wing, which we changed at the stop.
“Then I had the drive-through penalties, which dropped me further behind.
“So it's not really a race to remember for me, but it's still good experience because I finished the race and I learned a lot about the track, which will help me next year.”
Team Principal Eric Boullier, said that it had been a very difficult race for Renault, but expects a better race in Spain a week on Sunday. “It was obviously a tough race for the team in terms of strategy and, particularly, tyre management,” he said.
“Robert had a good first lap and gained some positions, but he suffered high degradation in his first and second stints, and that ultimately allowed Rosberg to gain position on us. His points were very hard-earned.
“As for Vitaly, there is not too much to say – he jumped the start, had an incident at the start and was penalised for both. We changed his strategy and hoped for a Safety Car that would allow him to gain positions but, for once in Canada, it never came.
“This wasn't our best weekend of the year but we didn't lose much ground to Mercedes in the championship and the basic pace of the car during qualifying was strong. We will hope to bounce back strongly in Valencia.”
Chief Race Engineer Alan Permane agrees that Renault should be strong around the street circuit in Valencia, and said that lack of tyre durability was the surprise challenge in Canada this weekend. “This afternoon's race was all about tyre degradation,” he said.
“We had hoped that our decision to qualify on the prime tyre with Robert would pay off, but we saw more degradation than expected in the first two stints, and that ultimately cost him position to Rosberg – even though we ran in front of him for much of the race.
“As for Vitaly, he had a character-building afternoon after receiving two drive-through penalties that put him out of contention early on.
“Although it's frustrating not to have made the most of the car's performance this weekend, the next circuit in Valencia should play to the strengths of our car, and we have more good developments in the pipeline