Vitaly Petrov says he is keen to try and end the 2011 F1 season on a high after a year that promised much early on ultimately failed to deliver for the second-year driver.
The Russian enjoyed a fine start to the year with a podium finish in the Australian Grand Prix, but has managed just six top ten finishes since – with only one of those being inside the top six. Indeed, Petrov has managed to score just five points in the last ten races, having picked up 31 in the first seven of the campaign.
With Renault fighting to hold on to fifth in the constructors' championship, and Petrov eager to stay inside the top ten in the drivers' championship, strong results are vital in both Abu Dhabi this weekend and the season finale in Brazil, with Petrov insisting he was keen to end his year on a high.
“To score more points in these last few races – that is my first target,” he said. “We have shown that we have good pace in high speed corners. We know we struggle with low speed corners but if we can stay focussed, and put every ounce of effort into these last couple of weekends with no mistakes in qualifying or during pit stops, I think good results are attainable. I want to end the season on a high.
“I am naturally inclined to say I don't know if the circuit will suit our car. When we arrive and are able to observe how the tyres are working, we will know where we are placed relative to our rivals. I hope we show signs of speed, like we have at time during the past three races. The concern is we have not exploited the potential the car has shown at the crucial times. Of course, that is always the fine line between a successful outing on track or a less successful one. Overall, I am confident it can be a good race weekend.”
Team boss Eric Boullier agreed that the main aim for the race was to try and bring home solid points to see off the challenge of those teams chasing Renault in the standings.
“We know where we are in terms of pace, which is between fourth and fifth place [amongst the teams] on the grid and we just want to ensure we get to the end of the race weekend with some points to our name,” he said. “That alone will solidify our position as the fifth best team on this year's grid. It is our only target now that we get our car up amongst the points and show people that this team is ready to launch its assault on next year's championship. For now, it's heads down and all eyes focussed on giving this team a result to be proud of in the UAE.”