Vitaly Petrov has praised Renault for the improvement it has made after his solid start to the 2011 F1 season.

The Russian scored his second points finish of the season in Shanghai after following up his podium finish in Australia with ninth in the Chinese Grand Prix, leaving him seventh in the championship after three races.

By comparison, the former GP2 racer failed to even finish the first three races of the season and didn't match his current points tally until the twelfth round of the year in Hungary.

"So far, I think that the team has hugely improved compared to last year and the car is much nicer to drive," he said. "The balance suits me very well. We must still work on how to maximise the new Pirelli tyres. The team is doing a fantastic job. We have done two podiums so far this season, so I hope that we can fight back in Turkey."

Despite scoring points in China, Petrov admitted he was disappointed with his result in Shanghai after problems in qualifying meant he was unable to take part in Q3.

"It wasn't a great race but nonetheless we took two points and any point is still important for the team, especially at this stage of the season," he said. "It is clear that our car is very strong. We improved it through P1, P2 and for qualifying so we know which areas to work on and what we need to do.

"We must continue to work hard, however, because we're not where we want to be yet."



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