x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Q&A with Petrov: Alonso tussle in Abu Dhabi 'history'

The Russian likes the Yas Marina Circuit but admits it is not one of the tracks his Lotus-Renault can show all of its performance.

What do you think about the Abu Dhabi circuit?

Abu Dhabi has a good atmosphere. It is a good track with a lot of spectators - even Russians - who come to watch the race. I do like the track. It has smooth tarmac which might mean we start the weekend in slightly dirty conditions; we shall see how prevalent this is when we get to the track.

I am naturally inclined to say I don't know if the circuit will suit our car. When we arrive and are able to observe how the tyres are working, we will know where we are placed relative to our rivals. I hope we show signs of speed, like we have at times during the past three races.

The concern is we have not exploited the potential the car has shown at the crucial times. Of course, that is always the fine line between a successful outing on track or a less successful one. Overall, I am confident it can be a good race weekend.


Last year, you memorably kept Fernando Alonso behind you even though he was fighting for the championship win - what are your memories of that battle?

That was last year, that's history. Yes, it was a good race for me as I made no mistakes and drove really well. Combining that with the circuit layout meant that Fernando was unable to overtake me, even though his car was much quicker. It must have been very hard for him being stuck behind me for so long, but honestly it was not that difficult for me to keep him behind me.


What are your targets for the final two races of the season?

To score more points in these last few races - that is my first target. We have shown we have good pace in high-speed corners. We know we struggle with low-speed corners but if we can stay focused, and put every ounce of effort into these last couple of weekends with no mistakes in qualifying or during pit stops, I think good results are attainable. I want to end the season on a high.


Now you have had some time to reflect, how was your first Indian Grand Prix?

It was not an easy weekend for anyone. It was a new circuit, with new tarmac and corners which were not very easy. It was difficult to find the right set-up, but we had a strong car. It took us a while to find the right balance, but we know this is never easy when venturing to a new track.

The car was pretty good and relatively fast in qualifying, but I made a mistake and didn't get into Q3, which was poor.

Add that to the five-place penalty and I had it all to do on the Sunday. In the race we were quick enough to finish in the top eight, but it did not happen for us. We left India disappointed, as we scored no points.