But for late-race contact with Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari, F1 rookie Vitaly Petrov would be enjoying his second points’ finish of the season after his most consistent weekend to-date since making his debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix. But a late-race tag against the back of the Ferrari saw the Russian driver plummet to a 15th place finish, although he did achieve some consolation by setting the fastest lap of the race.
Vitaly did what he needed to this weekend, after consecutive races in China, Spain and Monaco where his driving has been anything but smooth and error-free. Smashes in either practice or qualifying at those rounds saw his confidence dented and with a much harder job to do on race-day, as he typically started further down the order than his inherent pace would have suggested.
But Turkey was something different, and the rookie driver came close to matching the pace of his more experienced team-mate, Robert Kubica, in every session. But, as Alonso swept around the outside of Turn 3 with just four laps of the race to run, the Ferrari’s left-rear wheel tagged the Renault’s right-front, which was punctured.
"Although I’m disappointed to miss out on points today, I really enjoyed the race and the car felt really good," Petrov said later. "During the race I thought there was a chance of rain, which would have made things interesting, but in the end it was very light and didn’t have a big impact on things.
"At the end of the race my tyres were really worn when I was fighting with Alonso.
"He tried to go around the outside of me in Turn 3 and my car pushed to the outside, so we made contact which caused the puncture. It’s bad luck and I’m disappointed to miss out on scoring points, but there are a lot of positives from this race because the car has the pace to fight in the top ten."
Alonso sportingly, it must be acknowledged, approached Petrov in parc fermé to apologise for his part in robbing Petrov of valuable points (pictured).
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