24 August 2011
Petrov targets points return at Spa
Lotus Renault's Vitaly Petrov aims to return the Enstone team to the points after a scoreless Hungarian GP.
After a disappointing end to the first half of the 2011 F1 season, with Lotus Renault GP failing to score points for the first time in eleven races, Vitaly Petrov is determined to kick-start the team's campaign at the resumption in Belgium.
The Russian currently sites ninth in the drivers' standings, two points behind erstwhile team-mate Nick Heidfeld, with Renault having been overhauled by Mercedes heading into the traditional summer break, but is confident that he can return to the top ten at Spa-Francorchamps - a circuit that, like many of his rivals, he rates amongst his personal favourites.
"It is a famous and much-loved circuit, so it would mean a lot to get a good result there," Petrov admitted, "I know Spa-Francorchamps very well. It's one of the best and most challenging tracks you face as a driver, and I had a strong race there last year.
"The first half of the  season was not as successful as we had hoped. We clearly lost some performance on the car as we reached the European races, [and] the team needed some time to understand why we had the problems, [but] I think we've established that now. Our eyes are firmly fixed on the future and [not] the races that lie in our wake. As we near the end of the season, the endurance of everyone involved will play a bigger and bigger role, and hopefully we will be one of the best-prepared teams in that regard."
After taking a podium finish at the season-opener in Melbourne, Petrov has failed to reclaim such highs in 2011, but has still managed to rack up more points than he managed in his entire debut season. Now, after a chance to recharge his batteries, he is hoping that Renault can enjoy something of a resurgence over the remaining eight rounds, beginning in Belgium this weekend.
"I think it's important for the team to have had a break, as it allows time to understand why it is performing how it is," he reflected, "In our case, it was important to know why our performance level had dropped, and I think we've done that. From my side of things, it was also a chance to recharge the batteries. After an intense first half of the season, I was quite tired but now, after some time off, I am ready to fight hard.
"I believe we prepared well pre-season, and our strong start in Australia and Malaysia evidently helped, but I'm hungrier than ever to get back to scoring points – it's what I enjoy. The Belgian Grand Prix is a big race. I hope our new upgrades will be working well and then we will see where we are in terms of performance. You never know what to expect in Spa, but I hope that we will be much more prepared and ready for this weekend. That is crucial in order to turn our season around, and I'm confident we can do just that."
The Russian looks likely to carry the burden of adding to Renault's points tally after the team decided to axe Heidfeld in favour of reserve Bruno Senna, who returns to a race seat after half a season on the sidelines. The Brazilian remained pointless in his debut season with HRT.
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