Nick Heidfeld may have raced to his tenth points-scoring result of the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship in the sport's inaugural Singapore Grand Prix at the weekend - in the process lifting him to within a single marker of defending world champion Kimi Raikkonen in the drivers' standings - but he insisted he was frustrated at not having been able to finish higher up.

Though he qualified sixth - directly behind BMW-Sauber team-mate Robert Kubica, whose early promise was dashed by having to serve a stop-and-go penalty for pitting before the pit-lane had re-opened under the first safety car period, eventually taking the chequered flag in a distant eleventh place - Heidfeld was penalised three spots on the grid for having been deemed to have baulked Honda rival Rubens Barrichello in Q1.

From there the 31-year-old ran eighth during the opening stint - around a circuit on which overtaking was at something of a premium - rising to sixth position in the closing stages, tracking the Scuderia Toro Rosso of Sebastian Vettel all the way to the finish line.

"Although I shouldn't complain about finishing sixth when I came from ninth, I must say it is such a shame I couldn't show my pace," the experienced German mused afterwards. "The car was so good and I could have gone a lot faster if I hadn't been stuck in traffic all the time.

"I was even saving fuel and tyres because I hoped the others would kill their tyres and I could attack later. I think some did ruin their rubber, but still this wasn't enough of an advantage to overtake. I had a good start during which I managed to pass Nico Rosberg. However, because of how the race turned out for me I hardly sweated at all."

"The race was physically very hard," countered Kubica, 17 seconds behind the sister F1.08 at the close. "There were so many bumps; I hope the organisers will work on the surface for next year. On top of that, the visibility was getting worse and worse as I was getting tired. Over the final 15 laps I had an incredible headache.

"The decision to pit on the first lap when the pit-lane was closed because of the safety car was unlucky, and cost me a good race result as the cars behind me closed the gap. The team thought the pit-lane would re-open very soon, but this was not the case. However, that's racing."

The three points garnered by Heidfeld enabled the Munich and Hinwil-based outfit to remain just about in touch in the constructors' world championship, gaining ground on Ferrari but losing out to McLaren-Mercedes, with 15 markers now blanketing the top three teams ahead of the final three grands prix of the campaign - and 54 points left up for grabs.

"Another spectacular chapter was added to the Formula 1 history book," stated BMW Motorsport Director Dr Mario Theissen. "The first night race was a total success - my compliments go to the organisers. The race itself was turbulent and influenced by the first safety car period.

"Unfortunately the safety car rule meant Robert was completely out of contention in the race, whereas Nick was able to stay out just long enough until the pit-lane was re-opened. This was a shame for Robert, because he was well on his way to scoring important points for the championship standings.

"By finishing sixth, Nick made up three positions and scored three points. Everything didn't go according to plan for our direct competitors either as, apart from Nick, out of the top six only Lewis Hamilton scored points. Congratulations to Renault and Fernando Alonso for the win in this exciting race."

"The race start was okay for our drivers," added the squad's technical director Willy Rampf. "Robert managed to defend his position and Nick gained a place. After that the race went according to plan for both cars and they were able to open a gap over the cars behind. However, then the first safety car period ruined Robert's race completely. We had to re-fuel although the pit-lane was still closed.

"The penalty dropped Robert into a hopeless position at the end of the field - and this on a circuit where you can hardly overtake. In the end Nick scored three points, so this means we have still scored championship points in every grand prix this year."

Comments

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment