Nelson Piquet Jr will hope to secure points for the third race in a row as the Formula One season resumes this weekend in Valencia following the summer break.
After his somewhat fortuitous podium finish in the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, Piquet produced a strong performance last time out at the Hungaroring as Renault secured only its second double points finish of the campaign – coming home sixth and a little over ten seconds behind team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Although he admits he isn't sure if he would class the Hugarian result as a 'breakthrough', the young Brazilian said he did feel the weekend had been a positive one to take into the summer break and he would now look to try and take more points as racing resumes at the new Spanish street circuit.
“I don't know [if it is the breakthrough], but I'm certainly happy to have scored points in Hungary,” he said. “It was important for the team and for me and overall it was a very positive weekend. The car worked well, I did a lot of laps during free practice on Friday and Saturday morning and I was on the pace all weekend and felt comfortable. It's always nice to have that sort of weekend and I hope to continue like this for the rest of the season.
“I would like to have another solid weekend in Valencia, starting off with a good day of practice on Friday, qualifying in the top ten and showing good race pace to hopefully finish in the points. That's how I will approach this race. After the summer break, I am well rested and motivated to have a great end to the season.”
With the circuit being new to each of the 20 drivers on the grid, Piquet won't find himself at a disadvantage compared to his rivals as everyone seeks to learn the track during Friday practice and he said it would be interesting to see who was able to get up to speed quickly.
“This season I have already learned several new circuits, but the difference this time is that all the drivers will be in the same position and having to learn the circuit,” he said. “I think that from the point of view of the championship it's interesting to visit new tracks: it's an extra challenge for the drivers as well as the teams. I have worked hard with the team to approach this race in the best shape possible and I will try to get on the pace quickly and maximise every lap in practice.
“It's a street circuit so it will be quite tricky, but also very interesting. It's never easy to learn a new circuit, but, as I have said, this time all the teams and drivers will be in the same position. It will be interesting to see who can get comfortable fastest.”