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One-stop Heidfeld benefits with podium.


Nick Heidfeld has revealed that a cautious strategy paid off in the long run as he vaulted onto the second step of the podium at the end of the rain-affected Malaysian Grand Prix.

Having endured an opening day that had observers questioning whether the BMW Sauber team would be a factor for points, let alone the podium, the German veteran came into his own when the rain came down on race day, using a mixture of ability and canny calling on tyres to find himself in second spot when the results were finalised.

Not entirely immune to the conditions - he had one moment when he went off and allowed both Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton through - Heidfeld admitted that it was a last-minute decision to stay out on the full wet tyre that enabled him to leap-frog others who had made multiple stops to change rubber.

"I think it was a very difficult race in these conditions," he reported, "I took the right tyre choice - well, not the perfect tyre choice as I went straight to extremes - but there is normally heavy rainfall here.

"I tried to preserve my tyres at the beginning, and some other guys were quicker than me on the extreme wets, but I knew that, if the rain starts, then hopefully I can stay out. Some people were driving away from me, but I knew that they would kill their tyres and, if it would start drizzling or raining a bit more, I would then have the tyre and I would be able to stay out.

"The team told me there was heavy rain expected and I told them that inters would be a lot quicker [at that point]. The team told me all the time 'heavy rain expected in the next two minutes', but it just didn't happen, didn't happen, didn't happen. Then, just when they told me to pit, it started to rain heavier and just 200 metres from the pit entry, I said 'no, no I stay out as it starts to rain more heavy'. That was the right call, a bit lucky, obviously, but stopping once worked out."

Even when the safety car first came out, the conditions proved to be tricky, with Heidfeld admitting to a minor indiscretion that allowed Timo Glock to move into second place on the road.

"My rear tyres were destroyed completely and were slicks basically," Heidfeld revealed, "When it started to rain, I just tried to stay on the circuit. The safety car was out already, and the pits told me that I should observe the safety car's speed - which we have on the dash - and not go quicker than that. And I was laughing, telling them that I would be happy if I could go that quick.

"There was already a car which had spun there, so I thought 'okay, I will go as slow as possible', but it was aquaplaning not only on the tyres but also on the plank. I spun and I was happy that I didn't go into the gravel. I don't think it would have mattered in the end anyway, because the result was taken from a lap earlier, but that shows that it was the right thing to stop the race because it was just undriveable."


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber.F1.09, Malaysian F1 Grand Prix, Sepang, Kuala Lumpar, 3rd-5th, April 2009
27.11.2016 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34 and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34
27.11.2016 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11 and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34 leads Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-16
27.11.2016 - Race, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Manor Racing MRT05, Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Manor Racing MRT05 and Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34
27.11.2016 - Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12, Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11 and Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34
27.11.2016 - Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-16, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34
26.11.2016 - Free Practice 3, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34 and Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12
26.11.2016 - Free Practice 3, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34 and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
26.11.2016 - Free Practice 3, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34 leads Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34
26.11.2016 - Free Practice 3, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34
26.11.2016 - Free Practice 3, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H

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FreQ

April 06, 2009 7:16 PM
Last Edited 2804 days ago

Calvin, *Intake of breath* 'Example, your glorious career' The armchair fan says of an F1 driver who's had 12 podiums, 1 pole and 2 fastest laps, after starting F1 in the godawful Prost team, after dominating the F3000 championship the year before, and having won 3 championships before F3000! .... Nah, that's stupid of me. Your job's much better Calvin :D

Jagan - Unregistered

April 06, 2009 4:32 PM

Hey, let's give the guy a break. Sure, he is not at the very top but he would definitely be among the top 10 drivers. It's not that easy to be paired with a potentially great driver (Kubica) and still manage to more or less hold his own over the last two seasons.



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