It was one of the longest waits of the year, almost as long as eventual world champion Sebastian Vettel took to snatch the lead of the title standings for the first time in the Abu Dhabi finale – but now that Vitaly Petrov's continued presence on the grand prix grid is assured, the Russian reveals he feels 'much better-prepared' going into F1 2011 than he did ahead of his rookie campaign twelve months earlier.
Petrov's maiden season of top flight competition with Renault F1 was a frustratingly inconsistent one, with his raw pace and on-track aggression clear for all to see – just ask Lewis Hamilton – only not weekend-in, weekend-out.
That left his employers with a dilemma, and it was not until just before Christmas that the 26-year-old was finally reconfirmed at the newly-renamed Lotus Renault GP outfit for a second consecutive campaign.
Whilst that announcement came only a month earlier than had been the case back in 2010, the so-called 'Vyborg Rocket' asserts that far more significant than the flashes of genuine form he displayed on occasion last year was what he learned behind-the-scenes that he argues will mould him into a far more consistent and credible competitor in 2011. He is, he insists, only just getting started.
“We were just discussing the contract,” Petrov told Crash.net
of the prolonged period before he was officially confirmed again for this year, and acknowledging that consistency is the 'most important' area in which he needs to improve second time around. “I was quite happy and I believed we could still continue, so I was just waiting.
“2010 was a great season, a difficult season, but it was all part of the learning curve. Now I need to learn much less than I did in 2010, so I have much more time to prepare myself and focus on my driving. We're much better-prepared for 2011.”