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Renault duo looks ahead to Malaysia

NEWS STORY
29/03/2010

Robert, after the disappointment of Bahrain you must have been delighted to finish second in Melbourne.
Robert Kubica: It was pretty much the perfect race and a great result for the whole team. My start was good and I took things quite easy in the first corner to avoid a repeat of what happened in Bahrain. Then I made up some positions with the early pit stop and I have to say a big thank you to my mechanics for the great job they did in the pits. The rest of the race was all about being consistent and not making mistakes, which was tough with the changing track conditions and the degradation of the soft tyres. I had to do 50 laps on the soft compound tyres and it wasn't easy to keep the quicker cars behind me.

From the outside it was an action-packed race. How did it feel from the cockpit?
RK: For me it was actually quite a straightforward race because after my pit stop I simply had to concentrate on being consistent and looking after the tyres. I had some good battles with Hamilton and Massa, but I think most of the overtaking and accidents happened behind me.

How do you feel the R30 is evolving with the new updates?
RK: It's still difficult to judge because Albert Park is a completely different circuit to Bahrain. There are certainly some positive aspects of the car that I'm pleased with because the car has good consistency and is easy to drive. However, there are still areas where we are missing performance and where we need to improve if we are to get on terms with the top teams. Melbourne was not a normal race because of the changeable weather and, although it's great to finish on the podium, we need to remain realistic about our level of performance. These unusual races are not that common and we need to work hard to make sure we can fight for the podium in every kind of race.

Looking ahead to Sepang, it's a circuit with low, medium and high speed corners. How do you think the R30 will perform?
RK: Again it's difficult to predict because we have only had two races. I don't think it will be an ideal circuit for us, but on the other hand we discovered in Australia that the car performs better in warmer conditions and the heat in Malaysia might help us. It's a demanding track because there are lots of different corners and it's so wide that it gives you the confidence to really push and find the limits. Recently the high-speed corners haven't been too challenging, but I think they will be more demanding this year with the heavier fuel loads. There's also a high risk of rain storms, and with the race starting late on Sunday afternoon, we could have another wet race.

Vitaly, your race in Melbourne ended early, but what did you think of your first F1 street race?
Vitaly Petrov: I liked the circuit and it was quite bumpy and challenging, just like most street circuits. The wet weather also made it interesting and I really enjoyed the first few laps of the race in the damp. I was a shame to retire so early because I think I could have challenged for points in the race. Although I'm disappointed, I still take a lot of positives from the weekend because it's clear that we have a competitive car with a lot of potential, and my aim to get the maximum from it in Malaysia.

Are you finding it easier to work with the team and set the car up?
VP: F1 is such a steep learning curve, but I feel like I'm improving each time I get in the car. After two races I now have more experience and a better understanding of how to work with the team to improve the car. This is something where I will get better throughout the season because it's a big difference compared to GP2.

How is the balance of the R30? What do you feel are the strengths of the car at the moment?
VP: The car is generally well balanced, consistent and stable in the corners, which makes it an easy car to drive, but we still need more overall downforce to get closer to the front. There will be some more aero updates on the car in Malaysia, which should give us a bit more performance.

What are your expectations for Sepang?
VP: It's a track I know already from GP2 so I won't have to spend time learning the circuit on Friday, which means I can concentrate more on finding a good set-up and evaluating the tyres. I really hope I can finish the race, which has to be my target because it's important for me to get more miles in the car and experience a full race distance. Robert's result in Melbourne has shown the car has potential and hopefully I can score my first points soon.

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