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Renault duo look ahead to Spain

NEWS STORY
04/05/2010

Robert, after four races what is your assessment of your start to the season?
Robert Kubica: I think we should take a lot of positives from the first four races. If you had said to me at the start of the season, or even after Bahrain, that I would have scored 40 points and three top five finishes, I would have been more than happy. However, at the same time there has still been some frustration, especially in Shanghai where the safety car in the middle of the race definitely cost me a podium. But you have to accept that this is part of racing. Sometimes the luck goes your way and sometimes against you.

The team's development rate is getting you right on the tail of Mercedes. It must be motivating to see the progress being made…
RK: The whole team is working hard and it's good that we're making the most of our opportunities in the races. But it's important to remain realistic because we still need some big steps to be at the front of the grid and fighting consistently with Red Bull and McLaren in normal conditions. The next race in Barcelona will be another big test for us because the return to Europe is usually a turning point in the season with many teams planning big upgrades to their cars.

Do you think the order of the teams will change again in Barcelona and that other teams may leapfrog ahead of you?
RK: It's something we always expect in Barcelona and a lot of the teams have big expectations for their new packages. We are not planning to bring any huge updates, but we will keep gradually improving the car, just like we did during the first four races. We have to wait and see how we compare with the others; maybe the order of the teams will be quite different compared to the start of the year.

What are your expectations for the weekend?
RK: It's the sort of circuit that all the drivers and teams know back to front so I'm expecting a very tough battle. All the teams will be very well prepared and usually get close to their potential so it's important that we maximise our performance so that we can fight for points in the race.

Vitaly, after four races, how do you assess the start of your F1 career?
Vitaly Petrov: The start of the year was quite difficult for me and there were a few missed opportunities in the first three races. For various reasons things did not work out for me: I made a mistake in Australia and there were some problems with the car in Bahrain and Malaysia. To finish the race in China and score my first points was a great feeling and helped make up for the disappointment of the earlier races. But I always want more, and now that I have finished seventh, I must aim even higher.

How valuable was it to complete a full race distance?
VP: I learnt an enormous amount in Shanghai, especially because it was a wet race with changing track conditions. At the start of the race it was really difficult to know what the weather would do and if we needed to change tyres so I was talking with the team on the radio and making decisions about our strategy. Also, I learned about the importance of looking after the tyres and by the end of the race I was very quick and able to fight with Schumacher and Webber, who were both struggling with their tyres. The final laps were a lot of fun and I didn't want the race to end!

You said recently that Renault feels like a family. Can you tell us about your relationship with the team?
VP: That's right, the team is just like a big family and I'm really happy to be part of it. We work well together and they are always trying to help me improve. I've said before that the determination of the team is what impresses me the most and the fact that there are so many people working hard to improve the car for each race. There is a great atmosphere in the garage and you can feel that everybody is giving their maximum.

We're back in Europe now preparing for Barcelona, a circuit where you have a lot of experience. Are you looking forward to the race?
VP: I've raced there many times in GP2 and we tested in Barcelona over the winter. It's a circuit where all the teams will be well prepared and I expect the gaps between the cars to be very small. We didn't have a very good test there in February, but hopefully the weather and track conditions will be different for the race and that will give us a chance to do better. As a circuit, it's technically very difficult and overtaking is almost impossible, which is why qualifying will be very important.

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