However, Australian GP podium finisher Robert Kubica felt he had a chance to be on the podium again.
"It was an exciting race today and it’s good to have scored some more points," the Pole said after the race.
"The critical moment of my race was when the Safety Car came out, which ended my hopes of a podium because I lost the big lead I had to the cars behind me; so, although I’m happy to finish fifth, I still feel a bit frustrated to have missed a podium."
Petrov produced another strong performance in changeable conditions, taking advantage of his solid pace in the closing stages to overtake Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber to progress into 7th place.
"I’m happy to finish my first race in Formula 1 and to score my first points," a thrilled Vitaly said. "It was a difficult race and it wasn’t easy to make the right decisions today. In the beginning, when it started to rain, some drivers came in for Intermediates but we decided to stay out on Slicks, which was the right decision.
"Then I kept talking on the radio with the team to decide when we would change to Intermediates and, again, we got the timing right. When I changed to my second set of Intermediates, I knew it would be important to look after the tyres but we didn’t know if it would continue raining or if the track would dry out.
"But I kept pushing, the engineers told me that I had good pace and in the final laps I had some good overtaking moves, especially with Schumacher and Webber, to gain some more places."
[Original image via Sutton Images]