While starting 15th on the grid – therefore making the Q2 for the second time this season – Piquet managed to finish the race in 10th place. Although he didn't score any points in Bahrain, his drive was evaluated as “strong” by Briatore. Considering he came only 2 places behind much more experienced teammate Fernando Alonso, we couldn't agree more.
“Nelson had an excellent race, driving aggressively and consistently,” said Briatore after the Bahraini race.
The climax of his performance on Sunday was, no doubt about it, his defense battle against compatriot Rubens Barrichello for 8th place. The Renault driver managed to keep his fellow countryman on his trails for a number of laps (before he was finally overtaken) and defended wonderfully against a much more developed BGP 001.
As compared to the previous race in China, Piquet's car benefited from the interim double diffuser initially implemented on Alonso's car. The results were obvious, as Piquet managed to drive a safe race from beginning to end.
The Brazilian signed a one-year deal with Renault at the end of 2008, and is expected to deliver consistent results this year. Otherwise, it is believed the Enstone-based team will replace the Brazilian driver with another member of the Renault young development programme, GP2 driver and reserve driver Romain Grosjean, starting 2010.