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Congratulations, Lotus-Renault GP Team

30 Mar 2011

First Race, First Podium : Vitaly scores third place for LRGP at the Australian Grand Prix 2011
The Lotus-Renault Grand Prix (LRGP) team opened its 2011 account in style as Vitaly Petrov scored his first podium in just his 20th Formula 1 race. Vitaly who was Rookie of the Year in F1 in 2010 has become the first-ever Russian to take podium in the Formula One Quantas Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 27, 2011.

Podium on the first race!

  • Both Nick and Vitaly adopted two-stop strategies: soft /soft / hard
  • Nick stopped on laps 15 and 30, while Vitaly made his stops on laps 16 and 36.
  • Vitaly set his best time on lap 55, while defending his third place from Fernando Alonso
  • Vitaly makes history as the first Russian to stand on a Formula 1 podium
Vitaly Petrov, P3, R31-03
I’m delighted to be here on the podium, especially after the winter that we had as a team, which was very tough. Even during testing we didn’t really know where we were compared with the others, but we continued adding new parts to the car this weekend, and they worked pretty well. I made a great start today, which was probably the key for my race because it got me ahead of Alonso and Button, and I was able to run in some clean air and push hard, as well as looking after my tyres. Our two-stop strategy was clearly the right decision and we made it work. I have to say a big thanks to everyone in the team for working so hard and for supporting my over the winter. This result is for all of us and I’m totally ecstatic.

Nick Heidfeld, P14, R31-01  
Today was a tough race. I’m obviously disappointed not to finish in the points, but it just wasn’t possible, especially after I got hit on the first lap. It’s a shame because I had made such a good start from 18th to 12th by the first corner. The damage to the car was quite severe, mostly to the right hand bodywork, sidepod and engine cover. So it wasn’t a strong race for me at all. But, I’m pleased for the team and Vitaly that we have this excellent result today. It shows that we have a competitive car and that we can fight hard this year.

Eric Boullier, Team Principal and Managing Director
The podium today is a huge relief and a big reward for all the work which has been done by all the team, and obviously I am very happy. It shows that the decision we took to be aggressive with the design of the car was the right call, and it’s something we can build on going forward. The performance of Vitaly was very strong and it shows that we can deliver strong results this season. In fact, I have no doubt that both our drivers can be fighting towards the front at the next race and that we can build on the competitiveness we have shown this weekend.

About Proton's involement in F1
The Lotus Renault GP (LRGP) is the official team and Group Lotus is the main sponsor of LRGP. PROTON is supporting Group Lotus in its sponsorship and involvement in F1 through leveraging opportunities to provide customers with the chance to be part of the F1 fever and via customer hospitality programmes throughout the 2011 F1 season. PROTON is also supporting Fairuz Fauzy, who is under the Reserve Driver Agreement which includes benefits to PROTON such as logo placements, driver appearances and corporate hospitality.


For further details contact:

Proton Cars (UK) Limited | Registered Office: 1-3 Crowley Way, Avonmouth, Bristol, BS11 9YR
Registered in England No: 1857505