Vitaly Petrov reckons 'things are looking good' for Lotus Renault GP in the countdown to next weekend's Turkish Grand Prix and the start of the European season at Istanbul Park.
Petrov began his second season at the pinnacle of the sport in style and became the first Russian to stand on an F1 podium when he was third in Australia. Although Malaysia was tougher, he put his R31 back in the points in China and was ninth at the flag to increase his tally to 17.
Now he is looking forward to the fourth round in the F1 2011 World Championship and has promised to 'fight hard': “We have made real progress this year with the design of the car and innovations and it looks very strong. We have had some good races and took two podiums. We've also had some bad luck but we've still remained strong,” he said.
“Things are looking good for us I think. I'm pleased with my performance so far and with the results we have obtained but we need to stay focused and continue to work at the same rate.”
As the Istanbul Park itself, Petrov is a fan of the 3.32 mile circuit: “I have very good memories from Istanbul Park, I like racing there. I had some big successes in GP2 there [winning in 2009],” he continued.
“My first race there as a F1 driver in 2010 was also memorable, as it was the first time I entered Q3 in qualifying and then I had a good race with great battles with both the Ferrari's – unfortunately I didn't score any points in the end due to a puncture but my race was still very good.
“I like the layout of the circuit; it has a lot of slow and fast corners, a good mix of everything but at the same time quite a technical circuit, we all know about the famous Turn 8 in Istanbul. Another aspect is that it is quite a wide track which makes it quite safe. Also, the track allows overtaking manoeuvres so that should help make a great race.”
So what's the aim?
“I will of course do the best I possibly can to get the best possible result. We're expecting upgrades for Turkey which is good, and of course the other teams will react too and work hard to beat us.
“We'll be doubling our efforts in order to catch the teams in front. You never know what can happen during a race weekend but both my team and I will fight hard,” he summed-up.