Vitaly Petrov admits he is finally starting to feel at home in Formula One following a difficult rookie season…
Vitaly Petrov admits he is finally starting to feel at home in Formula One following a difficult rookie season.
The 26-year-old didn’t have too many things to write home about during his debut campaign in Formula One and many predicted he would be on his way out of Renault after just one year with the team.
However, the French manufacturer decided to stick with him and their decision is starting to pay off
The Russian has put in a string of impressive performances so far this year and the highlight will no doubt be his podium finish at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
“From one year to another year, it is like a switch that turns off something in your mind,” he is quoted by Autosport.
“You start to be closer to the team, and the team starts to follow you – and helps you to be on top. You can work together to be on the top and be friends with them. We talk on the phone and they say there is nothing that I have to get sorted.
“I feel like I am at home and they support me all the year. This is maybe why the results are here this year.”
Two of the biggest names in Formula One, Nigel Mansell and Jean Alesi, admit they’ve been impressed with the Russian this season.
“Vitaly has done a fantastic job under a lot of duress this year. I can see great things from him, going up against big names like Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull,” Mansell said.
“You may think that the best you can do is finish seventh, and I had that upwards for seven years in F1, but if you are there, you are ready to pick up when things go wrong. So don’t be surprised if he doesn’t surprise himself and win a race this year. That would be fantastic.”
Alesi added: “Straight away this year, we have been very impressed. Straight away he was on the podium and he surprised everybody.
“Everybody expected Vitaly to be more competitive because he has not yet big experience, but the jump he made from last year to this year is huge – and the position he took in Melbourne was not by luck.
“Many times in F1 there is an accident and three cars go away, but this podium was done by his own capacity.”
As for his prospects for the rest of the year, Petrov is optimistic that he can get to the top step of the podium.
“All drivers want to win and be on the top, but I think we are moving in the right direction,” he said. “Last year was not fantastic, but this year there have been a lot of improvements, and we are still improving together.
“Everything is possible in this life. You can see what happened in Canada, there was a big mess, so if there are more races like this then anything is possible.”