Robert Kubica believes that the second safety car period in today’s Chinese Grand Prix robbed him of a chance to finish on the podium.
Up until that point, the Pole had been running in third place and looked on course to rack up big points for his Renault team. However, debris on the track for the race to be neutralised again and Kubica was forced to concede his time advantage to the cars behind him.
Despite this, the 25-year-old was happy to finish in fifth place and continue his strong start to the season.
Meanwhile, team-mate Vitaly Petrov was delighted to score his first ever points in Formula One with a seventh place finished.
The Russian made a late charge to make his way past Mark Webber and Michael Schumacher, who were both struggling at this point.
Robert Kubica – 5th: “It was an exciting race today and it’s good to have scored some more points. At the start of the race I made a bad start and lost a lot of positions, but we made the right decision to stay out on slicks when it started to rain and I was able to move up through the field into third place. However, the critical moment of my race was when the safety car came out, which ended my hopes of a podium because I lost the big lead I had to the cars behind me. So although I’m happy to finish fifth, I still feel a bit frustrated to have missed a podium.”
Vitaly Petrov – 7th: “I’m happy to finish my first race in Formula 1 and to score my first points. It was a difficult race and it wasn’t easy to make the right decisions today. In the beginning, when it started to rain, some drivers came in for intermediates, but we decided to stay out on slicks, which was the right decision. Then I kept talking on the radio with the team to decide when we would change to intermediates, and again we got the timing right. When I changed to my second set of intermediates, I knew it would be important to look after the tyres, but we didn’t know if it would continue raining or if the track would dry out. But I kept pushing, the engineers told me that I had good pace, and in the final laps I had some good overtaking moves, especially with Schumacher and Webber, to gain some more places.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “To get two cars in the points today is a great result for the team and I’m very pleased with our performance. To see Vitaly score his first points is fantastic, especially in such spectacular style with a fighting drive where he showed great pace. It’s good for him to have a race distance under his belt and I’m sure he will take a lot of confidence from this excellent result. Robert, too, had another brilliant race, and didn’t make a single mistake all weekend. I also want to pay tribute to the team who have worked so hard recently, both here at the track and back at the factory in Enstone. They have not made any mistakes all season and have made great calls with the strategy: today’s result is a great reward for all their efforts.”
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: “What an exciting race and another strong performance from the entire team. Robert drove an excellent race and we can be happy to have picked up some more good points with a strong fifth place finish. It’s great to see Vitaly score points today and deliver such a mature drive. In the closing stages he did an excellent job to look after his intermediate tyres and it was very rewarding to see him overtaking much more experienced drivers. However, we’re a little disappointed because we were in third and fourth places before the second safety car period. Without that, we could probably have finished on the podium.”
RÃ©mi Taffin, Head of Engine Operations: “Two cars in the points today and a superb performance from both drivers, especially Vitaly who showed good, consistent pace in very difficult conditions. He also overtook lots of drivers today, including a certain former world champion. Robert drove another faultless race and has scored some more important points. As a team there were no problems during the race, which went very smoothly, and we can be pleased to have maximised our potential to come away with fifth and seventh places.”