March 28th, 2011
Vitaly Petrov – 3rd
A brilliant performance from Petrov earned him 3rd place. While his closest competition opted for a three stop strategy, Vitaly went for just two stops, which gave him enough of an advantage to secure his first podium position. He never had any direct competitors around him so it was all a matter of driving quickly and consistently to make the two stop strategy. In the final moments of the race the fast closing Alonso put some pressure on him, but he managed it well. It’s now time for Petrov to prove he is a class act and to show he belongs in grand prix racing.
Nick Heidfeld – 12th
Pretty simple to sum up Nick Heidfeld’s weekend: disappointing. A poor qualifying performance and a first lap collision spoilt his race, but the fact is he was out-performed by his teammate all weekend. This is Heidfeld’s last chance in Formula 1, he needs to step up otherwise he’ll find himself looking elsewhere for his motor racing.
Renault have taken a clear step up this year, they are unable to challenge the Red Bulls at this stage but should be able to put pressure on the McLarens and Ferraris. One does have to wonder how Kubica would have gone in Australia if he was available, would he have been able to challenge Hamilton? Vettel? Probably not, but something we will never know. However I do think they have a very capable driver in Heidfeld, and now possibly Petrov as well, who should be able to extract close to the maximum performance from the car.