Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Barcelona, 2011

Renault: Heidfeld eighth after “worst fire of my career”

2011 Spanish GP team review

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Heidfeld started last and scored points while Petrov fell out of the points having run fifth.

Nick HeidfeldVitaly Petrov
Qualifying position246
Qualifying time comparison (None)No time
Race position811
Laps65/6665/66
Pit stops33

Renault drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2011drivercolours.csv

12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031323334353637383940414243444546474849505152535455565758596061
Nick Heidfeld105.16494.83894.5293.9193.73793.37393.94293.34393.16693.14193.45294.13894.33393.62893.81396.394.31893.61893.52993.49397.521107.55689.81791.49491.30489.78689.49990.12493.92692.60589.43389.890.50790.49391.593.604108.33287.91588.28289.66288.52988.71288.01988.58189.90289.04289.47990.43790.11793.128105.39289.30187.36788.34987.99987.38587.18488.03588.94587.18186.958
Vitaly Petrov98.08492.39491.6291.18191.52391.68991.92991.95892.09792.595.398110.76292.23991.18991.86392.37891.25791.00591.00790.99191.47791.65893.84591.76592.71295.302111.84289.63490.31890.65990.60591.54690.12590.19689.59291.07790.72790.3991.01391.3393.849111.19990.73991.2792.18190.8390.99390.8390.57590.67690.76991.33890.62690.64191.67792.64993.14490.72990.58391.19690.981
Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Barcelona, 2011
Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Barcelona, 2011

Nick Heidfeld

Heidfeld had to evacuate his car during the final practice session as it became engulfed in flames as he headed down the straight out of Campsa.

Heidfeld described it as “the worst fire I sustained in my career”. He said: “There was a small hole in the right exhaust and then it overheated.

“Then, when I heard a strange noise, the power cut out and there were flames so I had to stop.”

The team weren’t able to repair his car in time for qualifying. He was given a dispensation from the 107% rule and started from the back of the grid.

He made up seven places at the start and ran the longest first stint of any driver, 21 laps, on hard tyres. That left him with three fresh sets of options for the final three stints.

He ended the race by passing Felipe Massa and both Saubers to finish eighth – in front of his team mate, who’d started 18 places ahead of him.

Nick Heidfeld 2011 form guide

Vitaly Petrov

Petrov was delayed by a KERS problem on Friday but it was fixed in time for him to keep up his streak of reaching Q3 in every Grand Prix this year.

He gained a place at the start and ran sixth but wasn’t able to keep pace with the Mercedes and fell behind them at the first roud of pit stops.

He fell further back into the clutches of the Saubers who saved soft tyres for their last stints and both passed him, leaving him out of the points in 11th.

Vitaly Petrov 2011 form guide

2011 Spanish Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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30 comments on “Renault: Heidfeld eighth after “worst fire of my career””

  1. Good race by Heidfeld, maybe they could have anticipated each stop by one/two laps?

    1. He’s in the running for my driver of the race.

  2. Petrov made a good start but absolutely stupid strategy and slow pit stops ruined his race. From P5 to P11. What a shame.

    1. absolutely stupid strategy and slow pit stops

      Also his pace wasn’t very good. Can’t completely blame the team.

      1. Yeah, Petrov did a good qualifying run, but in the race he was not on it after a good start.
        But it does seem the strategy did not much to help him this weekend.

        1. According to the team he had gear problems on his Q lap, and they seemed to think that if they’d given him the right car he could’ve qualified 3rd. That seems a bit far fetched, but who knows, they have the data…

          1. Now that would have been amazing.

            Imagine Alonso doing that great lap of his, only to land in 5th once again, behind Petrov and Hamilton!
            Still, the race saw him dropping back quite fast.

      2. Also his pace wasn’t very good.

        Was this down to being on the wrong tyres? Or did he just have a lacklustre race today?

  3. Awesome recovery by Heidfeld. Considering the difference between the Red Bull and the Renault, for me this is on the same level as Webbers performance in China. Wish he could have a clean qualification or practice session once, because these are the “ones” shadowing his excellent race pace.

    1. Also, DRS wasn’t anywhere near as effective in Spain.

      1. Yep, especially if we look at the dramatic difference between Red Bull and Ferrari in a “free fly”, and trying hard to remember how many times did Vettel try to overtake the Spaniard that he later even lapped, during that 19 lap…

  4. The New Hope
    23rd May 2011, 17:11

    Good race by Quick Nick.

  5. Great performance from Heidfeld, he really made his fresh tyres for him. As Petrov, well he just needs to stop Heidfeld from becoming the clear number one driver in the team.

  6. “The was a small hole…”
    shouldn’t there be a ‘there’ instead of ‘The’ Keith??

    1. Yep – fixed it, thanks.

      1. one other typo you missed, penultimate paragraph:
        “the first roud of pit stops”

  7. I was wondering, after reading a bit more about the firing of EBD off-throttle, perhaps some fuel burning in the exhausts continued out the back of the Renault and that was what caused all the fire? It was certainly fairly firey for an exhaust fire!

    1. It was, but that’s maybe to do with the positioning of the exhausts being where they are. That’s some serious backfire ;)

  8. Adrian Morse
    23rd May 2011, 19:11

    Keith, didn’t Alonso do the longest stint on the hards?

    1. Yeah he did 26 laps on them. But Heidfeld was the one with the longest first stint (as most others were on the softs)

  9. A good race for Nick. Bit disappointing for Petrov but I still have plenty of faith in him.

  10. Great race for Nick. As others have mentioned if he could just do better in qualifing.
    A couple more corners and I think he would have past both Mercedes.
    Salvaging points from that was nice for Renault.

  11. Heidfeld’s run – like Webbers in Shaghai – really raises questions as to how far the teams will start conserving tyres in qualifying.

    With the new rules, qualifying needs a real shake-up to make it exciting again.

    1. I get the feeling though it had more to do with the Red Bull being one second ahead (at least) of everything else.

      1. To get on the podium yes, but Kobayashi in Turkey and now Heidfeld in Barcelona have shown that starting dead last without qualifying can land you in the high points positions. With a midfield car Kobayashi made it up to 10th, and with a slightly better car Heidfeld made it to 8th. I am surprised no one’s trying something similar intentionally.

  12. Well it took nearly 4 months but as predicted back in early february renaults FEE actually caught fire…So no suprise there then

    With all of the really hot races still to come I think reliability could end up deciding this years championship battles. If RBR can’t get KERS working at 25’c what’s it going to be like at 30+

    I can’t see teams taking a different approach to qualifying than they took Saturday, if webber can’t win from 18th in a redbull the rest of the field stand no chance, grid position may no longer but vital but its sure still darn important

  13. Nice one by Nick but not sure how Petrov lost so much in his first stop,was that a slow one? He was P5 at the end of lap 1.

    1. I noticed that too. Heidfeld’s pitstops were 3 seconds quicker, so Petrov’s pitstops were probably very bad.

  14. What I don’t understand is, surely Heidfeld could have done 6 laps on the hards, and then 4 stopped, as he had 4 sets of softs available. Even minus a pit stop, at 4 seconds a lap difference he would have been about 40 seconds better off and past the Mercedes. Traffic is an issue, but surely pitting early and running in clear air on the softs early would have been better than stuck near the back on hards. Or have I missed something?

    1. I did of course realise as soon as I’d had my first cup of coffee that you’re only left with 3 sets of each tyre… senilety is a terrible thing

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