Lotus Renault team principal Eric Boullier was left disappointed after both his drivers failed to score a point between them at the Indian GP, with Vitaly Petrov finishing eleventh and Bruno Senna just behind in twelfth, a 'squandered opportunity' in Boullier's book.
After showing Renault's R31 was capable of displaying relatively strong pace during practice, the team held high hopes for qualifying and the race. However a five place grid penalty for Petrov carried over from his antics in Korea coupled with Senna's lack of qualifying pace left the team with a lot of work to do on the Sunday.
“Today was disappointing and overall this was a weekend of squandered opportunity. It's very clear that we had pace at this track which provided a real opportunity for the team. At times during the practice sessions we managed to show what we were capable of but we were not able to pull the quick laps out of the bag when it mattered,” said Boullier.
It seems a combination of different factors ultimately saw both drivers chances of points go up in the Indian dust at the all-new Buddh International Circuit, round 17 in the F1 2011 World Championship.
Senna, who finished twelfth, started the race in strong fashion with the Brazilian climbing to tenth. His afternoon however would be compromised thanks to a KERS issue which subsequently dampened his pace.
“It was a very mixed race for me today. I got a very strong start where I jumped four places so I was delighted with that. But, unfortunately I suffered a KERS problem, so I had to fight the race without it which made things very difficult,” he said.
“After my strong start, the remainder of the first stint was poor but I managed to follow this up with a good second stint when we put another set of tyres on. We could have had a chance to get in the points, but we must now look forward and see what happens in Abu Dhabi,” Senna concluded.
Petrov's afternoon in reality was hampered after he ran into Michael Schumacher in Korea, which earned him his five place grid penalty for the Indian GP. But despite this the Russian only narrowly missed out on scoring points and he felt had his opening pit stop gone more smoothly it could well have been a different story.
“I made an early pit stop but made a mistake with the clutch which lost me time as I couldn't pull away. This disrupted our plan as I was supposed to come out in front of Sergio [Perez] and the Force India but didn't manage to achieve this,” Petrov explained. “The speed on the straights of those cars was higher than mine which made it impossible for me to overtake but I kept attacking like hell to try to pass.”
Despite Boullier's clear disappointment the Frenchman however, remains upbeat and is fully focused on ending the year as positively as possible.
“We now need to pull ourselves together for the last two races so we can close this season on a better note,” he summed-up.
by Simon Evans