That much was corroborated by a visibly delighted Renault F1 team principal Eric Boullier, who in only his second race in the job has already succeeded in leading the Oxfordshire outfit out of the doldrums that characterised the 2009 campaign and to a better result than any that was registered last year. This, the Frenchman hopes, will be merely the start.
“The second place today is a fantastic result for Robert and the whole team in Enstone and Viry,” he enthused. “We worked really hard over the winter and we can be very proud of this result. Although we still need to improve the car, this podium gives us all a lot of motivation to keep pushing.
“Robert drove a perfect race, looking after the car and fighting hard. I also have to say a big 'well done' to the mechanics, who did an excellent job to get Robert out ahead of Massa in the pits, which was crucial for the final outcome of the race. It was a disappointing end to the race for Vitaly, but he is still learning about F1. His start was very strong, and with his strategy he could have been challenging for points.”
“Robert drove a brilliant race today,” agreed chief race engineer Alan Permane. “He made a good start on the intermediate tyres, and I think we stopped to fit slicks at pretty much the ideal time. After that he drove an excellent race and managed his tyres perfectly to bring the car home in second place. Unfortunately, Vitaly's race ended early as he got caught out in the damp conditions, but he has another weekend under his belt and will look to bounce back in Malaysia next weekend, where we will have some more new aero updates on the car.”
“Today's result is excellent,” concluded Renault's head of engine operations, Rémi Taffin, “and we must dedicate it to the mechanics who have worked so hard over the last few weeks and, of course, to Robert Kubica who delivered an exceptional performance. Without him we would not have been able to get this result. We're not yet at the level of the leading teams, but we will continue working hard to get there.”