While some agree that this is the result of the constant pressure applied by the international media on the 25-year old driver – rumors about his potential replacement for the 2011 season have made the headlines constantly in recent months – Renault's Eric Boullier argues that his rookie driver has matured a lot through the last few races.
“I think he is getting closer and faster and starting to gain confidence; he knows he can get into Q3 and can race, and he is learning when to push for example when we have to overtake somebody at the pitstops. He is getting there, clearly,” said Boullier after the Hungarian GP.
Petrov qualified 7th on the grid and raced to 5th at the finish line, during an event in which Kubica qualified 8th and finished in the pits. Although insisting the decision to name Kubica's teammate for the 2011 season will not be based on the results of a single race, Boullier admitted Petrov is now in pole position to prolong his stay at Renault.
“You don't take a decision on one race result, but if he starts to shine like this and scores more precious points, definitely he will seal his future with us soon,” added the Frenchman, referring to the 2009 GP2 series runner-up.
In recent weeks, several names have been linked with a switch to Renault, including the ones of Adrian Sutil (Force India-Mercedes), Timo Glock (Virgin Racing), Nick Heidfeld (test driver for Mercedes GP) and even former F1 champion and current WRC contender Kimi Raikkonen. According to reports, a definitive decision by Renault will be taken before the end of the season, in autumn.