Vitaly Petrov played a significant role in the outcome of the championship, for it was him who Fernando Alonso spent much of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix stuck behind, unable to climb to the fourth position he needed to secure the title.
Alonso vented his frustrations at the Renault driver on the slowing-down lap, but Petrov explains his side of things, claiming he was just concentrating on his own race and scoring as many points as possible.
Q. You have had some tough races this season, but how much pressure were you feeling with Fernando Alonso behind you in Abu Dhabi?
Vitaly Petrov: I always try to not think about the pressure. I just try to do my job. I like driving. I like battles and things like this.
Q. But you must have been aware of the championship situation and that it was Alonso right behind you?
VP: Yeah, but you know – there is nothing to say from me. I do my own racing. I did my race; I did the maximum performance that I could take for this race. I cannot just let one car pass me because it is racing.
Even Sebastian Vettel in 2008, he was behind [Lewis] Hamilton [in Brazil] and then he passed Lewis, who almost lost the championship. But he was lucky because [Timo] Glock was so slow. He also was not thinking about who he was battling with.
So I did not do anything. I just tried to keep pushing. I just did my race. I know Ferrari is still quicker than us with the downforce, but this track is very difficult to overtake.
Q. Did you speak to Fernando after the race?
VP: No. I think he was angry. So I think there is no reason to talk to him right now.
Q. But he made a gesture toward you on the slowing down lap?
VP: Yes, but I would be in the same condition if it happened to me. If I were in his situation I would also be angry but he should be angry with himself or with his team because they did maybe the wrong strategy or something.
Q, Did you see his gesture on the slowing down lap?
VP: Yes, but he was angry, of course. But what can I do? I did my race. If he got close enough to attack quite aggressively I would maybe not fight too much because I did not want to touch with him because he is fighting for the championship.
He was just once close enough for attacking. I closed normally my position and then I was driving normally around the circuit, and he did not have any opportunity to overtake me, as this circuit does not give you any chance.
Q. He said afterward that you were a bit aggressive...
VP: No, it was normal. It was my normal strategy and my normal racing position. I won't let anybody pass easily. I want to do my race. I want to show I have not come for just driving around for fun. I come here to work, so I don't want to lose this opportunity. I was not aggressive. It was simple, easy and nothing special.
Q. Was it easy to keep him behind?
VP: Yes, it was really nothing special because I knew the Ferrari was quicker. I was waiting for him and thought he would try more times to overtake me. But it was not a problem of him – the problem was the strategy first and then a difficult circuit to overtake.
Q. What about your future now?
VP: I think soon we will know what we are going to do.
Q. Are you optimistic about it?
VP: Yes. All weekend was very good because sometimes you are testing a lot of things on Friday and Saturday and sometimes you say this is not good, and you go back and try something else – and that costs you time.
This weekend we just go step by step, so we never came back. We were forward, forward, forward – and everything was going in the right way. So we do our good job.
Q. Sebastian Vettel gave a big thanks to you for keeping Fernando Alonso behind. Did you rather a Red Bull won than a Ferrari?
VP: I just want to be champion myself. I don't think he needs to say thank you, because I did not do this for him, and I didn't want to disturb Fernando – I just wanted to do my job.
But maybe I should have asked on my team radio, please ask Vettel how much he wants to pay me to help, and then we go to Ferrari and ask them the same, too. Then whoever gives the most, we see!