Kubica just misses out on podium

In an exciting 2008 Spanish Grand Prix, Robert Kubica drove a fine race and finished fourth for the BMW Sauber F1 Team. Nick Heidfeld had to make do with an unfortunate ninth position.

For the BMW Sauber F1 Team, the fourth round of the 2008 Formula One World Championship proved to be a race of mixed emotions. Robert lost a position at the start when McLaren's Lewis Hamilton passed him for fourth position. Subsequently, the Pole drove a flawless race. On lap 17, Renault's Fernando Alonso came in for his first stop and Robert moved up to fourth position. For the rest of the race he followed third-placed Hamilton like a shadow with the gap between the two cars never more than 2.5 seconds. However, it's a well-known fact that overtaking a similarly fast car is virtually impossible at the "Circuit de Catalunya". Therefore, Robert had no chance of truly pressurising the McLaren driver.

Twice, on laps 22 and 48, Hamilton and Robert pitted simultaneously and despite great work by the BMW Sauber F1 Team pit crew he had no chance of passing his rival in the pits. Consequently, he opted not to take any unnecessary risks and focused on bringing the car home in fourth place and thereby adding anoth

Nick, however, encountered a far more difficult afternoon. From his ninth position on the grid, the German made a great start and passed Mark Webber (Red Bull) and Jarno Trulli (Toyota) for seventh position. Prior to his first scheduled pit stop, however, Nick had to cope with his first dose of bad luck. His late-stop strategy, supposed to possibly gain him another position, proved to be a disadvantage when McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen went off track and crashed heavily into the tyre wall on lap 22. Fortunately, the Finn did not suffer serious injuries. The safety car was deployed and the pit lane was still closed when Nick had to come in for his stop or risk running out of fuel.

For this unavoidable offence, the BMW Sauber F1 Team driver received a 10-second stop-and-go penalty. He held fifth position when going in for his penalty on lap 34, but rejoined the race in 16th. Nonetheless, he displayed a lot of fighting spirit and quickly closed the gap to the cars ahead of him.

On lap 46, Nick completed his second scheduled pit stop. Unfortunately, Giancarlo Fisichella (Force India) had pitted from eighth position just one lap earlier and Nick rejoined the race right behind the Italian. Due to the characteristics of the "Circuit de Catalunya", it took him nine laps to pass the clearly slower Force India driver, thus losing valuable seconds. Consequently, his chances of scoring points were over and he had to settle for finishing ninth.