Renault boss Eric Boullier has sung the praises of his rookie driver Vitaly Petrov after the Russian took a deserved seventh place in difficult conditions yesterday in China.
Petrov was always on the limit and sometimes beyond, and Boullier, himself something of a rookie, was quick to acknowledge what a good drive it had been from the newcomer.
“Vitaly put in a great drive,” Boullier was quoted as saying by Autosport. “At the beginning of the race, the conditions were very tricky. Some parts of the track were wet, some weren’t, and it’s never easy for a rookie when the conditions are changing all the time.
“But once everybody got onto the same tyres in the second half of the race, he just got faster and faster – in the final laps, he was the quickest car on track.”
“Yesterday, Vitaly was finally able to show his true talent. It demonstrated that once he has confidence in the car, he can be very quick indeed.”
The Frenchman added that Renault would continue to develop their car after a strong start to the year.
“Everybody is working incredibly hard at Enstone, at Viry [Chatillon] and at the track,” he said.
“The race team deserve a special mention this weekend: they worked long hours all through the weekend, and did a fantastic job to prepare Vitaly’s car for qualifying after his accident in third practice.
“Our first two-car points finish was a great reward for their efforts. In terms of development, we’re clawing back a tenth here and a tenth there at each race.
“It takes a little while for the progress to be visible out on track, but looking at the situation race by race, we’re getting steadily closer to pole position. After all, Robert was able to split the Mercedes for the first time in qualifying in China, which was very encouraging for the whole team.
“Everybody is pushing themselves to the limit and the hard work is beginning to pay off.”