Robert Kubica has conceded that a fortuitous pit stop was the reason he wound up third in Italy in his BMW Sauber.

Kubica, who started from eleventh, eventually finished the race less than 10 seconds behind McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen and the Pole was delighted to take P3, his sixth rostrum of the season.

The result allowed him to close up on championship rivals Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa, and he is now just 14 points behind the leader, with four races left - and 40 points still up for grabs.

"I'm very happy to finish on the podium today! Yesterday qualifying was difficult when I was the first one not to make it into the top ten. The only advantage of this was I could choose my race strategy, and we decided to go for just one stop with a very long first stint," he stated.

"At the start the visibility was really bad. When the Safety Car went in after two laps, I overtook Nick before the first chicane without even seeing him. It was really dangerous. Then I was able to drive at my own pace, but towards the end of my first stint I was having problems with the tyres, obviously because the car had been very heavy.

"We were then lucky with our pit stop, because it was just the right time to change to intermediate tyres. From then on I was easily able to control my position on the track. Third place was a well deserved reward for the whole team."

Nick Heidfeld meanwhile, who started just one spot in front of Kubica in tenth, took fifth spot in the other F1.08, holding off the Ferrari of Massa and the McLaren of Hamilton late on.

"Coming from tenth on the grid it is okay to finish fifth, but still my race wasn't ideal," added the German. "Unfortunately I lost a place to Robert right at the start.

"It was the right decision to let us start behind the Safety Car. When it pulled off the visibility was still so poor that I braked much too early and Robert passed me.

"This time it was the team who made the tyre choice. I left it to my race engineer as on the pit wall they had a lot more information about the weather. It was absolutely right to go for intermediates. Today it was important to avoid mistakes and keep the car on the track. I'm happy I had the pace to keep Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton behind me at the end."


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