Russian Formula One rookie Vitaly Petrov will start the Hungarian Grand Prix from seventh position after an outstanding qualifying performance at the Hungaroring.
The 25 year old finished Q2 in fourth position, and went on to beat his team-mate Robert Kubica in Q3 for the first time.
While pleased to have shaded Kubica, Petrov is realistic that bettering his seventh place finish from the Chinese Grand Prix will be a difficult task.
“I think we did a good job today and I’m very happy to reach Q3 and to be starting seventh ahead of Robert, because your first goal is always to be ahead of your teammate,” he said.
“We knew that the car would be quite good here and I have been very happy with the balance during the whole weekend.
“But the guys in front are still very strong so we know that we need to keep pushing to catch them.
“For the race tomorrow, overtaking will be very difficult, and the only real chance is at the start, but I will do my best to try and pass some guys and score some points.”
Petrov’s upswing in form is particularly timely as rumours that Renault may replace him for 2011 gained strength last weekend in Hockenheim, where team principal Eric Boullier publicly expressed concern that Petrov has only scored seven points thus far (against 89 for his team-mate).
While the 2009 GP2 Championship runner-up is believed to bring considerable financial backing to the team, representatives of Adrian Sutil, Sebastien Buemi, and Timo Glock are all believed to have spoken to Renault about a drive for next season.
Kubica, who has already resigned with Renault for 2011, was a disappointing eighth in the qualifying session, surprising those who thought that the de facto local hero may be in contention for a second row start.
“We were hoping to be closer to the front today,” he admitted.
“It was looking better this morning during practice, but in Q3 I just didn’t have enough grip and had a lot of bottoming with the car, which was quite strange.
“My lap in Q3 was very slow – half a second slower than my Q2 run, but I just didn’t have the grip.
“For the race, everything will be about the first lap and the start of the race, so we hope to get a good start and make up some positions tomorrow.”
For a full qualifying report from Hungary CLICK HERE