Robert Kubica has said his start was 'really important' in allowing him to eventually take fourth place in Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit, the third round on the F1 2010 schedule.

Kubica, who finished on the podium in Australia seven days ago, started the race from sixth, but he was soon up to fourth, first passing the Williams of Nico Hulkenberg and then getting ahead of Adrian Sutil's Force India.

He also pressurised eventual third place finisher and Mercedes GP man Nico Rosberg early on, but slipped back after his pit stop on lap 21 and eventually finished 5 seconds adrift in his Renault R30.

"It was another enjoyable race and the car was consistent with good pace all afternoon," Kubica reflected. "The start of the race was really important because I managed to get ahead of Hulkenberg into turn 1, and then I got a good exit out of turn 2, which helped me overtake Sutil.

"After that I managed to build a good gap to the cars behind me, but we didn't have the pace to catch Rosberg. Fourth place is a good result though and gives us some more important points."

Team-mate, Vitaly Petrov also had quite an encouraging race and he was running in the points early on. However the F1 2010 rookie had to retire on lap 34 when his Renault R30 developed a mechanical problem.

"The first half of the race was great fun and I enjoyed fighting with the cars around me, especially the battle with [Lewis] Hamilton. Then, in the middle of the race, the car just stopped and I think it was a problem with the gearbox," Petrov said. "I'm disappointed to retire, but I now have some more experience and I learnt a lot about managing the tyres, which will help me improve for the next race."

Renault boss Eric Boullier and chief race engineer, Alan Permane meanwhile were encouraged by the performances of their two drivers. Indeed Boullier added that Petrov might well have scored but for his gearbox issue.

"To finish fourth with Robert is another great result for the team. Obviously we benefited from our good qualifying performance yesterday and Robert made a good start to the race. After that he drove very well and the car showed good pace," said Boullier.

"Vitaly also made progress at the start, drove aggressively in the opening laps, and had a good fight with Hamilton. It's a real shame he had to retire because I think he could have scored his first points today."

"Robert drove a great race today and was up to fourth on the first lap, which he held until the end of the race," Permane added. "We tried to catch Nico Rosberg, but the Mercedes had pretty similar pace to us and so we had to settle for fourth. As for Vitaly, he made another good start and drove really well in the opening laps. When we changed him to the prime tyres he struggled for rear grip, but then his race came to an end with the gearbox problem, which we are still investigating."