Lotus Renault GP endured a tough mixed weather Hungarian Grand Prix with Vitaly Petrov finishing in 12th position and Nick Heidfeld failing to finish. This result puts an end to the team's run of consecutive top ten point scoring finishes this season.
• Heidfeld started on intermediates, changing to super softs and then softs before retiring with his car ablaze.
• Petrov used an intermediate, super soft, soft, intermediate, soft tyre strategy.
• Heidfeld stopped on laps 11 and 23, whilst Petrov made his pit stops on laps 10, 25, 50, 53.
• Petrov set his fastest lap, a 1min 24.664secs, on lap 68 using the soft tyre.
• Heidfeld set his fastest lap, a 1min 30.826secs, on lap 19 using the super soft tyre.
Today it was a very difficult race with very changeable weather conditions. When the rain returned near the end of the race I lost temperature in my tyres and this made the car’s handling very difficult. It looked like the wet conditions would continue so I changed to the intermediates, but it did not last as long as we thought. Maybe we should have changed to the super softs, but it is so difficult to predict the weather, and many other teams did the same thing. I am a little disappointed as it was possible to score points had we done the perfect strategy but it was not to be today.
Not a good race for me today, and it’s the second consecutive weekend without finishing, so obviously I’m very disappointed. My second pit stop was longer than expected, the car overheated and I noticed smoke coming from the rear. It worsened, and then I noticed the flames so I had to pull over at the end of the pit lane and cut my race short. The last couple of races have not been what I hoped for, but we have a few weeks now to reassess and come back stronger after the August break.
Eric Boullier, Team Principal and Managing Director
We had a disappointing race to wrap up this part of the season. Nick had some misfortune once again after a visit to the pits; his second pit stop was held up after a problem with one of the wheels, and the car is not designed to stay running on high revs for so long so it caught fire. Vitaly was on a strong strategy, doing well and then the second raindrops affected us, which meant we had to pit again and that put a stop to our chance of points. The next race is in a month’s time, and although we have the factory shutdown in that period we are focused on showing a better performance in the forthcoming Grands Prix.
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer
A bad day for us. Nick had a very poor start and struggled in the wet conditions. In his second pit stop we had a problem with one of the wheel nuts meaning that the car was sat at high revs for a long time. This meant a build-up of heat which caused a fire. Although it looked spectacular it was only a small part of bodywork which burnt on the left-hand sidepod. Vitaly was having a reasonable race. He was in a nice rhythm when we changed to the prime tyres, which should have lasted to the end of the race and given us a finish well inside the top ten. Unfortunately, the late rain shower made it very slippery on the worn prime tyres so we changed to intermediates. The weather quickly changed and it dried up, meaning we had to change back to dry tyres.
Ricardo Penteado, Engine Support Leader, Renault Sport F1
The Hungaroring is one of the tougher circuits on the calendar to us to prepare as the average rev range is low over a lap but the engine has to be responsive out of the low speed corners onto the short straights. It’s not the most demanding on the engines though so we used an engine on the fourth race of its lifecycle for Nick and on the third race for Vitaly. However this race was anything but a ‘typical’ Hungarian Grand Prix so it really kept us on our toes with regards the fuel consumption. We tried to give Vitaly every advantage to get into the top ten, but unfortunately he just finished out of the points. Nick’s race obviously ended spectacularly but was not related to the engine. Not the best finish to the first part of the season, but we’ll keep pushing to come back stronger after the break.