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Another step forward for BMW Sauber 15 Apr 2007

Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1.07.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Sunday, 15 April 2007

BMW Sauber equalled their best race result to date on Sunday, as Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica finished fourth and sixth respectively in the Bahrain Grand Prix, bringing the team an impressive eight-point haul.

Heidfeld drove a superb race from fifth on the grid, clocking a fastest lap just half a second slower than that of race winner Felipe Massa. The German also pulled off an audacious passing move on Fernando Alonso, going around the outside of the world champion’s McLaren.

"I feel fantastic,” enthused Heidfeld. “Currently I have a good car, a good team, I can drive good races and I really enjoy this. Before the race I didn't think I could overtake Fernando, but in the second stint I was a bit quicker than him because I had one more set of fresh tyres than him. On the other hand, Fernando had the better top speed. I had to wait til he made a mistake, which he did in corner 13.”

Team mate Kubica, meanwhile, scored his first points of 2007, despite having to contend with an errant fuel-filler flap on his F1.07. He clocked the sixth-fastest lap of the race nonetheless.

“Unfortunately the flap wouldn't close and you lose quite a lot of downforce with this,” said the Pole. “I was losing time in the high speed corners and under braking. It opened at the beginning of the race and there was no way we could fix it. The good thing is the pace is there, the reliability is almost there and so now we will look forward to see what we can do in Barcelona."

Team principal Dr Mario Theissen was delighted with the performance, which suggested they have moved another step closer to equalling the speed of the two leading teams.

"This was the strongest performance of the BMW Sauber F1 Team so far,” he said. “Not only did we score eight points, but Nick's fourth place is really a special one. We were able to match the pace of the top cars and Nick was even able to overtake World Champion Fernando Alonso on the track!”

BMW Sauber remain third in the constructors’ championship, but are now nine points clear of Renault in fourth.