The season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix saw Robert Kubica finish in 11th position, while teammate Vitaly Petrov retired in the early stages of the race.
2010 Bahrain Grand Prix Sunday 14 Mar 2010 – Renault F1 Team
Robert Kubica, P11
All our hard work this weekend was undone by the incident on the first lap. During the lap to the grid, we had high engine oil levels and we took some out on the grid, but it seemed like Webber had the same problem after turn one: his engine just sucked the oil in and there was a massive amount of smoke in front of me. I think Sutil just didn’t lift off because he couldn’t see anything and he hit me. I spun during the incident and that cooked the rear tyres: they were overheating from that point onwards and I eventually stopped very early on lap 12. I completed the rest of the race on hard tyres, and that was a big challenge: I just set myself the goal of finishing in the points, but we didn’t quite make it. Without the incident on lap one, I think we would have had a very strong points finish because we showed the pace to fight well. Overall, it was a positive weekend for us, though: we were well prepared after the winter; the team did a fantastic job at the track and back in Enstone to get the cars ready with the new package, and we didn’t have any issues with the engine or the brakes. Now, we need to keep working and keep pushing.
Vitaly Petrov, retired, lap 13 – suspension
I made a fantastic start and was running well in P11 at the end of the first lap. The car felt good, and my pace was better than Barrichello in front of me. Then I ran wide over a kerb in turn 12 and it seemed to damage the right-front suspension at that point. I came into the pits to have the car checked over, and that was when we realised that the suspension couldn’t be repaired so I had to retire. It was an extremely disappointing end after such a great start, but I’m pleased with how things went up to that point, and I want to thank all my mechanics and the whole team for the car they gave me this weekend. They did a fantastic job.
Eric Boullier, Team Principal
Mixed feelings after this first race of the season. Robert fell victim to a racing incident on the first lap, when he touched another car, and he drove a fantastic race to climb back through the field. It’s frustrating to finish so close to the points but, at the same time, we can be encouraged by the speed he demonstrated to get there. I’m very disappointed for Vitaly, too: he made an outstanding start and drove very well in the opening laps, looking after his tyres without overdriving, and showing strong race pace. Overall, we can say that the R30 is a good basis to work from but we’re under no illusion about the amount of work ahead of us if we want to catch the teams in front. The whole team has put in an incredible amount of effort during recent weeks, both at the factory and here at the track this weekend. The team spirit is strong and we’re all motivated to keep on pushing to improve even more.
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer
We were disappointed not to score points today. Robert got hit from behind on the first lap and was running pretty much last at the end of lap one, before climbing back up to P11 where he ultimately finished. His pace on a long second stint on the hard tyre was very good. Vitaly made an excellent start before he experienced a problem with the front suspension that we are currently investigating. On the positive side, the car looked competitive in race trim and we had the pace to achieve a much stronger finish today. I’m confident that, with the upgrades we have planned at the coming races, our performance will only improve in the weeks ahead.
Rémi Taffin, Head of Engine Operations
The entire team had a very tough first weekend of the year but, in typical fashion, they all rose to the challenge. The two drivers did a fantastic job: Vitaly got better and better through the weekend, while Robert justified all the hopes we had for him and it was a shame to see him fall victim to a racing incident on lap one. On the engine front, we used the same engines throughout the weekend without any problems at all. We had no surprises running on the heavy fuel loads, no issues with fuel consumption and we respected every part of our planned strategy. We hope that our hard work will be rewarded with points at the next race in Australia.
Courtesy Renault F1 Team © RIF