Robert Kubica was left ruing his first corner accident with Adrian Sutil, after the Pole narrowly missed out on the points.
The Renault driver was caught out by the Red Bull of Mark Webber, which poured out smoke right infront of Kubica and obstructed his vision. This in turn led to Sutil’s Force India colliding with the 25-year-old.
Meanwhile, Vitaly Petrov suffered a disappointing start to his F1 carreer, after he was forced to retire with a suspension problem.
Robert Kubica (11th): 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 (DNF): 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.