Lotus Renault GP's Vitaly Petrov took a solid fifth place finish in the F1 2011 Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday - and at the finish he said the team is definitely now 'back on track after a couple of difficult races'.
Petrov eventually finished just over 6 seconds behind Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber in fourth and third respectively, and he also posted the third quickest lap in the race - behind only race winner Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel. Based on that he felt a rostrum result was there for the taking.
“Today, the conditions became very difficult after a few laps and stopping the race was the right decision. There was absolutely no grip and the car was aquaplaning everywhere,” he reflected.
“When it restarted, we tried to make the most of our position: I was fourth because I decided not to change my tyres before the red flag. From then on, I was fighting for a good position.
“On one hand, finishing fifth after starting 10th is a good result but, on the other hand, I really feel we could have finished on the podium today. That said, I welcome these extra points, and I think we're back on track after a couple of difficult races. A big thank you to the team for the work this weekend.”
Team-mate Nick Heidfeld meanwhile retired after a collision with Kamui Kobayashi on lap 55. He had been battling for fifth.
“Naturally, the main disappointment for me is that I didn't finish the race. I was behind Kamui and then something happened. He slowed down suddenly and I hit the back of him, which resulted in my front wing coming off and me going off the track,” Heidfeld explained.
“I was on track for fifth and some good points, so it's frustrating that more did not come from today after a decent qualifying session yesterday.
“Today was one of those unpredictable races and I just had to drive as well as I could in the circumstance. We will now look forward to Valencia where I hope to get some more points for the team.”
“Once again, the team scored points today, which means we've finished in the top 10 with at least one car at every race since the start of the season,” summarised team principal, Eric Boullier. “We've also understood some of our recent problems, and the solutions we brought with us to Montreal were promising because our pace has clearly improved.
“This said, despite all these positives, we leave Montreal with mixed feelings. Firstly, we could have scored points with both cars today.
“Unfortunately, Nick was caught out by Kamui Kobayashi, who was unusually slow on exit. Until then, his race had been perfect. With a bit more luck, Vitaly could have finished a bit higher too.”