Petrov Unable to Evaluate True Potential of R31

Vitaly Petrov insisted that only the first race of the season, in Australia, will tell how each team is situated in terms of performance for the 2011 season of Formula 1. According to the Russian driver, the only team that will certainly be tough to beat this year is Red Bull, as it's clear enough that the reigning world champions have what it takes to reiterate their 2010 success.

Apart from the Austrian squad, all teams (including Renault) are hard to evaluate, thinks Petrov, as a bunch of elements come into play when one has to judge the performance of a single-seater. Such elements are the tires used – as it's a well known fact that the gap in lap times between different tire compounds is huge – the amount of fuel in the tank and the level of tire wear.

It's difficult to say because nobody is running low fuel,” argued the Russian driver, who finished the second day of testing in Barcelona with the 3rd best time of the pack. “Maybe we didn't. It's difficult to say where I am and where another team is. Red Bull still looks quite strong, but the rest, I don't know.”

Additionally, he admitted that he is now feeling more comfortable with his Renault R31, even though at first it didn't seem quite right to him.

In the beginning on the first day of testing I was not happy about the car. I was thinking I was in the s*** maybe, because it was really difficult to drive with these tires. If the car started to lose the rear, you couldn't control it because it was so quick.”

With the Bridgestone you could control it, you could slide, do a rally a little bit, you know? But with these tires, if it comes, it comes quite quick and it's difficult to control. But now that we have a lot of new aero parts and a lot of other new things it is getting better and better. I think after a few grands prix we will have more parts coming and it will be much better.”
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