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Sauber end weekend on a high 29 Aug 2004

Felipe Massa (BRA) Sauber Petronas C23.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Belgian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, 28 August 2004

Kimi Raikkonen took the second victory of his career, and Michael Schumacher clinched his seventh Drivers’ Championship title, but the Belgian Grand Prix also gave other teams cause for celebration.

Foremost among them must be Sauber, the Swiss team enjoying one of its most successful weekends in recent memory as Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella finished in fourth and fifth place respectively, their tally of nine points helping to strengthen the squad's sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship.

Both drivers survived an eventful race to bring home their points.

“At the start somebody ran into the back of my car at La Source,” said Fisichella, “and I lost some downforce because of damage to the rear wing and diffuser as a result. I was able to fight for points, but it was difficult and on lap 20 I momentarily went off the road in turn 12 and lost a little more downforce by damaging a front wing endplate.”

Massa was also in the wars, being involved in the series of first lap incidents.

“I locked up at La Source and didn’t see Kimi on the outside until we touched,” he explained, “then Sato really hit the back of my car. I pitted for a new rear wing, but stoped again a lap later because the steering was vibrating really badly. After that the car was still shaking but I was able to attack. You might say that I was lucky in the circumstances, but I believe that today I was recompensed for all the bad luck I have had in the last five races.”

A gutsy drive from both drivers produced Sauber’s best result of the season so far. Fisichella is now 10th in the Drivers’ Championship with 18 points, and Massa lies in 12th with 10 points.