Renault had both its drivers, Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov (pictured left), appear in the final stage of qualifying for the first time this season, defying many expectations that the high-speed nature of the Istanbul circuit will be ill-suited to the R30 chassis.
The Pole and the Russian will start from 7th and 9th on the grid for Sunday’s race, and Petrov, in particular, is pleased to have made it to the final stage of qualifying for the first time in his career.
"It feels really good to have made it into Q3 and to be starting the race from ninth," Vitaly – who won the first GP2 race in Turkey with Campos in 2009 – said.
"So far it has been a really smooth weekend for me with no problems and my engineers and mechanics have done an excellent job to give me a car that I feel really happy with. The car is easy to drive and we have managed to improve the performance with each session, so I knew that we had a good chance to be in top ten today. It’s going to be a long race tomorrow but I’m looking forward to a close fight with the cars around me and hopefully scoring some more points for the team."
Vitaly should be pleased for running such a clean weekend to-date; it just goes to show what can be achieved by not stuffing the car into the barriers, as has been the case in either practice or qualifying at the previous three rounds in China, Spain and Monaco.
If Vitaly can survive the typically chaotic first corner on lap 1, he’ll be a surety for a points’ finish in the race.
[Original image via GP Update]