Date: 27th March 2011 at 5:43pm
Written by:

Vitaly Petrov was the first ever Russian driver to finish on a Formula 1 podium after an excellent 3rd place finish in today’s 2011 opening Grand Prix in Australia.

Whilst World Champion Sebastien Vettel produced a very cool, fast and confident drive to lead the entire race from pole to win, it was impressive to see Petrov, in only his second F1 season, to finish 3rd for Renault, compared to his team-mate Nick Heidfeld who crossed the line in 14th.

Petrov joined two drivers, Vettel and Hamilton, who have plenty of experience standing on the podium steps, before being soaked in champayne, while the Russian had the first taste of ceremony experience after a tough 90 minutes or so of driving.

It wasn’t a one-off either, and he didn’t need any sort of luck during the race to get him up to 3rd. None of the top drivers fell back significantly to help him, as he was already starting in 6th after a good Qualifying session.

Petrov boosted his podium chances in the very first turn of the race when he gained two places after Turn 1, and he consistently provided the pace to eventually finish 3rd, ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, Red Bull’s Mark Webber and McLaren’s Jenson Button, which makes his 3rd palce finish sound even more impressive.

With a promising start, Petrov will now look to take the team forward in the absence of Robert Kubica, and he seems confident he can do that:

‘I don’t need to answer anything. You can see. And also yes!’

‘[At the start] I was catching Mark Webber,’

‘Then he pitted and I had to push as much as I could.

‘In the middle of the race my radio wasn’t working very well so I just tried to push as hard as I can and everything was good.

‘I had to pull away from Fernando but it was not so much pressure. He was still quite far away from me and I could pull away at the last corner.’

‘I’m very proud,’

‘The result is for all of us and I’m totally ecstatic.’