Vitaly Petrov hails step forward for Renault

Russian driver Vitaly Petrov believes Renault proved they have made a performance improvement with their efforts at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Petrov led the Oxfordshire-based, Group Lotus-backed outfit with a points finish in ninth, while Bruno Senna's full race debut ended with a respectable 13th.

And although the black and gold team has struggled at recent races, Petrov sees hope for the second half of the season.

'I think we've made a big step forward with the car, and you can see that I was in top 10 contention for all of the race – and close to the Mercedes – so we need to keep working in this direction,' said Petrov.

'Our strategy was good, however we lost out on our top speed which meant I found it very difficult to overtake. The car was very strong on the corners, and we were very good on the brakes until I had issues at the end.

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'For the final laps I was driving differently to compensate for the brake concerns, but unfortunately I spun right at the end as I had totally lost my front brakes. Looking at the performance of the weekend, overall I'm quite happy.'

Senna, who qualified an impressive seventh, added: 'Unfortunately I made a mistake in the first corner, which cost me the chance of really causing a stir at the top end for the remainder of the race – so, firstly I would like to say sorry to Jaime Alguersuari for that.

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'Once I'd paid the price with the drive through penalty I was able to start making some progress and my race pace was actually quite strong, so I kept pushing and was pleased with how I drove from then on.

'Obviously I would like to have finished higher, considering my grid position, but I've now got a good pace to build on and take me through to Monza, which is another of my favourite tracks.

'We'll sit down and learn where we can improve but the foundations are there.'

Team principal admitted to leaving Spa with mixed feelings.

'We suffered from a difficult first corner, which prevented us from scoring more points,' said Boullier. 'Having said that, both Vitaly and Bruno drove a respectable race from this point on and ensured we would take something away from this weekend.

'It's good to see that we've improved our pace, and there are clear indications that some of our vigour has re-emerged following some tricky races recently.

'This weekend has acted as a real building block for Monza, and I'm glad to say that spirits are higher than they have been for a while.'

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