Robert Kubica has said that it was a 'nice surprise' to be so competitive in Spain this weekend, especially as unlike most of the other teams Renault didn't go to Barcelona with any major updates.

Kubica, who started seventh at the Circuit de Catalunya, eventually finished in eighth place, just 0.7 seconds off Adrian Sutil in P7, despite damaging his Renault R30 at the start when he tagged Kamui Kobayashi's Sauber.

It was his fourth points finish in succession following on from his second, fourth and fifth places in Australia, Malaysia and China respectively.

"I didn't have a good first lap and that compromised the rest of my race," Kubica reflected. "I actually made a good start and was fighting with [Felipe] Massa through turn one but unfortunately the car snapped sideways when I got on the power. Then, in turn three, I touched Kobayashi which damaged the front wing and cost me some places.

"I was struggling with quite a lot of understeer because of the damage, but the field was so tight that we didn't have time to change the wing during the pit stop without losing a position. After that, I was able to attack Sutil and the car felt quite competitive in spite of the damage.

"But everybody knows how difficult it is to overtake here so there was no chance to pass him. Even so, the pace has been good this weekend and that's been a nice surprise. Now we need to look forward to Monaco."

Team-mate Vitaly Petrov meanwhile was eleventh in the other Renault R30, only the second time this season he has finished.

"I'm pleased to finish a race in dry conditions, although it was a shame to miss out on points," Petrov said. "At the start of the race I decided it was better to be cautious because the first corner was very busy with a lot of cars all around me. I didn't gain any places but I knew I needed to stay out of trouble and avoid damaging the car.

"The rest of the race was quite straightforward: the team did a good job today, the balance was consistent and I had a nice battle with Kobayashi. Monaco's next and I'm really looking forward to driving an F1 car there for the first time. But, more than ever, it will be important to have a weekend without mistakes if we want to score points."

Renault boss, Eric Boullier added: "It was a tough afternoon for us and today's race shows us once again that the key this year is to qualify well and have a good start: if you don't, it's very difficult to score points. Robert delivered another strong performance, although he was unlucky to touch Kobayashi on the opening lap. Without that, we think he could have gained a couple of positions compared to qualifying.

"As for Vitaly, I'm pleased that he has finished his first race in the dry and he now has some more valuable experience. He showed good pace which is encouraging for the future. He finished the day as the strongest rookie, but he's aiming much higher than that. We know that if he can qualify strongly, he will do a very good job."


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