Taffin: Strategy wise it was very tough

© Renault Sport F1, 31 May 2011

he Renault RS27 engine powered Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel to his fifth victory of the year in the Monaco Grand Prix today. The 3.340km street track, which takes in some of the most famous sights of the Principality, demands ultimate driveability and responsiveness from engines as they reach some of the lowest speeds and torque of the year. Vettel held on to the lead after a tense race to secure his first-ever and Renault’s second consecutive Monaco victory after a dramatic race, which involved two safety car periods and a red flag. Red Bull Racing-Renault’s Mark Webber sealed fourth position.

Lotus Renault GP’s Nick Heidfeld had a tough race to eighth position to claim a further four points, thereby consolidating the team’s fourth place in the constructors’ championship. Vitaly Petrov was involved in an accident on lap 69 and was taken to the medical centre for precautionary checks. He fortunately did not receive any serious injuries.

Team Lotus achieved another strong double race finish with Jarno Trulli crossing the line in 13th and Heikki Kovalainen in 14th.

Sebastian Vettel extends his lead in the championship to 143 points, 58 ahead of Hamilton, while Red Bull Racing-Renault has 222 points in the constructors’ championship over McLaren’s 161. The win is the 135th for a Renault engine in F1.

Key race weekend points:

Red Bull Racing

The RS27 powered Vettel to his fifth pole of the season on Saturday. A dramatic race saw Vettel make just one pit stop after trying to strategically use the safety car periods. On used tyres he held Fernando Alonso behind however with the red flag was able to change tyres on the grid before the restart. The German world champion retained the lead until the end of the race to score his fifth win of the year. Mark lost one position at the start and a slow pit stop dropped him down the field to 14th however he used the safety car window to move back into the top ten. Before the red flag he had just taken Sutil for fifth and on the restart used the RS27 drive to power through to fourth ahead of Kamui Kobayashi. Vettel continues to lead the championship with Webber third.

Lotus Renault GP

Qualifying was slightly disappointing for the Lotus Renault GP team with neither drivers making the top ten as they struggled to extract the best from the supersoft tyres used this weekend. Petrov started in 11th with Heidfeld a disappointing 16th. The team’s race was however marked by an accident involving Petrov on lap 69. The Russian was involved in an impact with Jaime Alguersuari and made contact with the barriers. He was escorted to the circuit medical centre for precautionary checks but the team later confirmed he had received no serious injuries. Heidfeld secured a further four points in eighth, therefore consolidating the team’s fourth place in the constructors’ championship.

Team Lotus

Team Lotus put large amounts of mileage on the RS27 on Thursday practice, with Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli completing approximately 465km between them. After working consistently on the driveability of the engine in FP3 the drivers were happy with the balance, especially in the slow speed corners, but unfortunately were just a couple of tenths from making the cut for Q2 in qualifying, with Heikki Kovalainen starting 18th and Jarno Trulli 19th. The team used a two stop strategy to make strong progress up the field to claim 13th with Trulli and 14th with Kovalainen.

Rémi Taffin, Head of Renault Sport F1 Track Operations
The most important thing is that we know Vitaly is OK after his accident. It was a big impact and we were all pleased to hear he was OK. But congratulations to Sebastian on taking the win and giving a Renault engine two consecutive victories in Monaco. To win at this track, which demands the most from our engineers as they look to get the correct driveability and settings through the slow, tight corners, is a credit to all at Viry and the strong relationship we’ve forged with the Red Bull Racing team. Strategy wise it was very tough but Sebastian did a good job to hold off Alonso before the red flag and then keep him behind on the restart. Mark was also very strong race to fourth, which was a good result after his problems in the stop. To overtake at Monaco isn’t easy and he did a great job. Team Lotus are continuing to make really good progress and achieved another double car finish at a track where finishing isn’t always a fait accompli. We’re really pleased with how this partnership is developing and hope that we are playing some role in helping the team achieve its ambitions.


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