Lotus Renault GP narrowly missed out on points in India’s inaugural 60 lap race, with Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna crossing the line in 11th and 12th respectively.
They did, however, improve on their starting positions and the R31 showed decent pace in clean air. Bruno started 14th, having struggled with changing balance as the dusty track evolved. Vitaly ended Q1 at the top of the time sheets, but made some errors in Q2 that left him 11th. A five-place penalty handed over from the Korean Grand Prix meant he started behind his team-mate in 16th.
Bruno made a lightening start to get up to 10th place at the end of the first lap. Unfortunately a KERS problem made him a sitting duck later in the race and, though he was riding ninth in the middle stint, he eventually dropped out of the points.
Vitaly pitted on Lap 3 to switch hard tyres for softs, and a mistake with the clutch baulked his hopes of a quick getaway. This put him behind traffic, and scotched his race plan because Sergio Perez and the Force Indias were quicker on the straights and difficult to overtake.
Bruno Senna: “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 then I suffered a KERS problem, and fighting without it made the remainder of the race difficult. I had a good second stint and we had a chance to get in the points, but now we must look forward to Abu Dhabi.”
Vitaly Petrov: “My start was good especially considering I was on hards. I made an early pitstop and made a mistake with the clutch which cost me time as I couldn’t pull away. This disrupted our plan and I emerged behind cars whose straight-line speed was higher than mine, but I kept attacking like hell to try to pass. I had a lot of oversteer and nearly lost the car in Turn 9 after hitting the kerb and touching the grass, but luckily I caught it. That was a big moment!”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “Overall this weekend was a squandered opportunity. It’s very clear that we had pace at this track. 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. We need to pull ourselves together for the last two races so we can close the season on a better note.”
Claudio Berro, Group Lotus Director of Motorsport: “It’s disappointing not to have any points to show for the weekend when, clearly, the car had the pace to net eighth or ninth place, but let’s hope everything comes together in these final two races and we fulfill our promise with some strong finishes.”