Vitaly Petrov admitted he was disappointed at being forced to retire from his F1 debut in Bahrain, although the Renault man insisted there were plenty of positives to take away from the weekend.
Petrov qualified 17th for his first race but climbed up to eleventh on the opening lap, making the most of incidents ahead to make up places.
However, the Russian suffered damage to his suspension when he ran wide over a kerb at turn twelve and having pitted to check the damage, was forced to park the car and retire from the race.
“I made a fantastic start and was running well in P11 at the end of the first lap,” he said. “The car felt good, and mypace was better than Barrichello in front of me. Then I ran wide over a kerb in turn twelve 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.”
With Robert Kubica also failing to score after an opening lap incident restricted him to eleventh place, team boss Eric Boullier admitted there were mixed emotions in the Renault garage.
“Mixed feelings after this first race of the season,” he reflected. “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.”