Interview with Vitaly Petrov

Vitaly Petrov has been rapid throughout the Turkish Grand Prix weekend, and that form took him into Q3 for first time as he qualified ninth, just two places behind his on-form Renault team-mate Robert Kubica

Interview with Vitaly Petrov

AUTOSPORT heard the Russian rookie's thoughts on his Istanbul breakthrough.

Q. Congratulations on getting through to Q3 for the first time. Was that an important breakthrough for you? A sign of progress?

Vitaly Petrov: Yes, of course. Our target is always to be in Q3 and today we did it without any mistake. So it was good from the beginning.

Q. Do you have a feeling that something moved forward for you this weekend?

VP: I know very well this track, and I know it previously from GP2. I know at every corner what I must do, and this has helped me a lot for F1 to improve my driving.

Q. Were you always confident of getting through to Q3 after the way practice had gone?

VP: You never know if you will get into Q3, but I try and push as hard as I can. I think we did well.

Q. Did the new front wing feel better for you?

VP: Of course. The car felt like it had much more downforce but still not enough like the Red Bulls in front, and other teams. We know where we need to work.

Q. Do you feel this is now a level you can regularly attain?

VP: Yes. If I know the tracks, then yes. But like Canada, which I don't know, it will be quite difficult to be at the top of the times. But I try to do some preparation. We will try it. Why not? We can do it. It is just a question of time.

Q. What is the explanation for your good performance here? Is it the greater experience you have, or that the feeling with the car is so good?

VP: Today, the engineers did a very good job because today I drove a car that I liked. I don't like to have an unbalanced car. Sometimes you have more oversteer, or more understeer. But today I had a car like I wanted so I can improve all the time, and on each corner I can push harder and go quicker. Sometimes I could go even 10km/h quicker, which feels good.

Q. How does it feel to start so far up the grid?

VP: It doesn't matter! It will be more difficult to get into the top ten, but what is different from fighting in the top ten or at the back?

Q. And what about your feelings with Felipe Massa in front of you - who has been very successful here in the past?

VP: Well, let's see. The race will be difficult, but we are ready for this.

Q. Is the car inspiring confidence for you?

VP: Yes. This is what happened today, and this is why I was quick - because I could trust it a lot. There are some corners that you really need trust in. To go quick, you don't need to be thinking what the car will be doing in a particular corner. This is how it was for me.

Q. Is that the first time it has hooked up like that?

VP: Maybe it was before, but before I was not so experienced for the qualifying system. But today I was really happy. In Barcelona it was not too bad, but we would have needed some good luck there - and we didn't have too much downforce - because I crashed on Saturday.

Q. You say your engineers are giving you a car that you want. Is a factor also that the relationship between you and your engineers has improved a lot too?

VP: I think it is always coming from relationships - but not in terms of which kind of set-up I want. I try to explain what I want, and there was quite a big discussion on Saturday morning with the engineers and I was very happy.

Q. Did you reach the maximum in qualifying for Turn 8?

VP: Turn 8 is not important. You go flat out, and get through to the finish. There are other corners where you need to think about what you do.

Q. What is your main aim - make sure you get to the finish, or right it out for points?

VP: Of course the first target for me is to finish the race. The more kilometres I do, the more I learn. Then, of course, I will try to fight for the top ten.

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