Renault's Vitaly Petrov has said he wants to get closer to the top-ten and 'hopefully' fight for points this weekend in China, as well as notching up that elusive first finish.

Petrov has been unfortunate so far this year and while he put in a strong race in Malaysia two weeks ago - and had a good dice with 2008 F1 world champion, Lewis Hamilton in the early stages - yet again he failed to get to the end.

It was the second time this year mechanical issues have forced him out, and after also spinning off in Australia, it means he has yet to do more than around 15 laps on a single Sunday afternoon.

That is something he now wants to put right in Shanghai, a venue he some experience of from his days in GP2, F1's feeder category.

"I've raced at Shanghai in GP2 so I don't need to worry about learning the track," Petrov stated. "It's a challenging circuit with a lot of different corners, which makes it a very technical circuit and difficult to find the right set-up. There are lots of long corners, such as turn 13, where your car understeers and it's hard to get on the power, which always feels frustrating.

"Of course, I've only experienced the circuit in GP2 and I'm sure it will be even more challenging in an F1 car. But the priority is to try and finish the race and get the experience of a race distance.

"I also want to get closer to the top ten and hopefully fight for points in the race. I also need to continue working hard on my qualifying performance so that I can make it through to Q2, and hopefully Q3."

Asked about the opening three races and how he thinks things are going so far, the Russian conceded that while he is happy within the team, it has been annoying not to get to the chequered flag.

"I'm pleased with my relationship with the team, especially with the engineers who have really helped me adapt to F1. I've been spending as much time as I can with them talking about the systems on the car, the set-up and where we can improve," he explained.

"On the other hand however, it has been frustrating not to finish the races, especially retiring so early in Bahrain and Australia, which has limited my experience. At the moment I only know what it feels like to complete half a race in terms of managing the tyres and adapting to the changing fuel load so that's not ideal."

Despite a less than easy start to the F1 2010 season though, Renault technical director James Allison is confident the 25-year-old will be able to deliver. Indeed he has been impressed with how the youngster has got on thus far.

"I think his biggest strength is his mental toughness, especially at the key moments. His performance at the start of the races is a good example of that, and also his approach to qualifying where he copes well with the pressure. He has been unlucky not to finish the races, and we feel very sorry that we have let him down twice with car failures that have cost him strong finishes," Allison added.

"Every weekend he is getting closer to Robert [Kubica] in terms of pace and I expect that to continue throughout the year. I am confident that when we give him a reliable platform, he will get the job done for us and bring the team points each weekend."


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