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Q&A with Renault's Vitaly Petrov

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Ever wanted to know your favourite Formula One driver better? Ever wanted a glimpse inside their lives outside the cockpit and see what really makes them tick - away from the race track? You can with the help of our series, The Secret Life. Renault’s Vitaly Petrov is our latest target, as he reveals a hatred of early starts, a penchant for playing cards and a passion for Spanish football...

Q: Are you the kind of guy to have a ‘Plan-B’? 
Vitaly Petrov: Yes, of course! I’m always thinking of finding a good exit plan if ‘Plan-A’ does not work. For example at the start, you gain 20 positions and wow, you’re suddenly second! But at that very minute it dawns on you that you will probably not finish the race in P2, so you immediately have to roll out your ‘Plan-B’. You have to save your tyres, you must defend, and make it your goal to finish in the top ten!

Q: Apart from driving a Formula One car, what is your favourite buzz?
VP: To finish a weekend positively. To be able to walk out of the paddock in high spirits. It is not about winning but about feeling at ease with yourself.

Q: Who is your dream date?
VP: Before this season, it was obviously people in Formula One! But by now, I’ve met everybody so my interest has shifted a bit. Now I would say it would be Brad Pitt, or at least those kinds of people - film stars. It was fantastic in Melbourne to bump into John Travolta in the paddock! From other sports, maybe Mike Tyson or Muhammad Ali.

Q: Which film makes you cry?
VP: A film called ‘Goal!’ by director Danny Cannon, which is about a youngster from Mexico and his overwhelming desire to be a football player.

Q: What are you afraid of?
VP: Losing my family.

Q: What was the last book you read?
VP: ’The Foreigner’ by Sergei Dovlatov. It’s about Russian immigration into the US.

Q: Name five things that you hate?
VP: When someone lies to me, waking up earlier than I have to, and when people ask you questions about racing and have no idea about motorsport. Nothing more really springs to my mind. That shows that I am a very balanced person!

Q: Have you ever dyed your hair?
VP: I did one time. A little lighter than my natural colour. It was not too impressive. It didn’t look all that great for all the time it took to do. But I guess, when you are young, you sometimes want to slip into another personality, which is of course an illusion, especially if you want to achieve it with a bit hair colour!

Q: What was the first CD that you bought?
VP: I don’t really remember! Usually I buy compilations, so it’s not about one artist or one song. I’m the compilation guy!

Q: Do you have any tattoos or piercings?
VP: No. And if I ever do, only my lady will know.

Q: What did your teachers say about you in your school report?
VP: My mother is a teacher, so they always hoped that I wouldn’t mess about during lessons. And to be honest, I never did.

Q: Who were your childhood heroes?
VP: It was Bruce Lee, and Muhammad Ali because my father enjoyed boxing.

Q: Do you have any guilty pleasures?
VP: I prefer not to tell anybody. It is my life. On a small scale, it’s eating sweets.

Q: Do you collect anything?
VP: Playing cards. I try to buy them in every country I visit.

Q: What do you miss most about home when you’re travelling?
VP: Friends, Russian food, and of course my family.

Q: What was your worst buy?
VP: Nothing big - just the usual stuff. You go shopping, buy a pair of jeans - your 25th pair - you put them in the closet and take them out again after a few weeks and find out they are too small! It happens to me all the time! (laughs)

Q: How do you take your coffee?
VP: I don’t drink coffee.

Q: Your ideal non-race Sunday morning?
VP: To sleep as much possible, eat as much as possible and do nothing as much as possible. Oh and go to a good Russian sauna.

Q: What was your first car?
VP: A Volkswagen Golf 1.4. My dad gave it to me.

Q: What’s the most embarrassing mistake you’ve ever made?
VP: Mistakes happen to all of us, and that goes for me, too. I really cannot remember anything embarrassing, just those little things that go wrong every day.

Q: What is the best thing that you can cook?
VP: Pasta.

Q: When was the last time you were really angry?
VP: When Inter Milan defeated Barcelona! I’m a Barca fan and also a Real Madrid fan. How is that possible? I like the way they play. Aside from Russian football, I like Spanish football the best. I was with a friend in a sports bar watching the match and we both ended up being very upset.


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Flash news

Romain Grosjean lands 2012 Renault race seat

Romain Grosjean will race alongside Kimi Raikkonen at Renault next season, when the team becomes Lotus. It will be Grosjean’s second spell competing for the Enstone squad, the Frenchman having made seven Grand Prix starts for them in 2009, and leaves their 2011 drivers Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna without confirmed seats. Read more... Link  

2012 Race Drivers

Sebastian Vettel
Mark Webber
Lewis Hamilton
Jenson Button
Fernando Alonso
Felipe Massa
Michael Schumacher
Nico Rosberg
Kimi Räikkönen
Romain Grosjean
Paul di Resta
Nico Hulkenberg
Kamui Kobayashi
Sergio Perez
Daniel Ricciardo
Jean-Eric Vergne
Pastor Maldonado
Bruno Senna
Heikki Kovalainen
Vitaly Petrov
Pedro de la Rosa
Narain Karthikeyan
Timo Glock
Charles Pic

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