Robert Kubica has called on the BMW Sauber team to squeeze the last drops of performance from its F1.08 after second place in the Japanese Grand Prix left him within spitting distance of the world championship leader.
While title contenders Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa made a hash of extending their own points tallies, Kubica took eight valuable points to move to within twelve of the Briton in the overall standings. With 20 points still up for grabs in the final two races at Shanghai and Interlagos, the Pole knows he is still an outside chance, but happily pointed to last season's championship chase for reasons to remain optimistic.
"I think you at least have to try, there is nothing to lose, everything is possible," he claimed, "I think Kimi [Raikkonen] showed last year that anything is possible. The difference is that I have two guys in front of me, not one, and, at normal pace, it's no secret that we are not as fast as Massa and Hamilton, so life is a bit more difficult. But everything can still happen."
Raikkonen famously came from 17 points back with two rounds to run to win the 2007 title, and Kubica sees no reason, especially with the Massa-Hamilton battle getting physical at Fuji, why he should not be in with a shout of upsetting the odds once again.
"My feeling doesn't change," he insisted, "Being leader of the championship after seven races, you should be able to fight for the championship. I was hoping we could be able to fight for the championship, but we didn't improve a lot lately with the car, so this didn't help me, but I'm still twelve points behind the leader. In the last two races, everything is possible.
"Over the last three races - mostly apparent here – it shows that everything can be possible. At Monza, we had changeable conditions and I started eleventh, but finished third. In Singapore, I think I would easily have finished on the podium, but my race was ruined by safety cars, so it's changeable. We have to be there and I hope this is a good boost for the last two races. I just hope we can find a few tenths which will help me in the battle."
Despite having been unable to hang on to Fernando Alonso once their positions at the head of the field changed at the first round of pit-stops, Kubica rated the Japanese race as possibly his best of the year.
"I think this is much better than the Canada win," he claimed, "The car, I think, is not a secret anymore, not the one from the beginning of the season. We didn't improve a lot in the last two or three months, so to be able to finish second on the podium in front of McLaren and Ferrari, to be able to keep quite a good pace in qualifying, is amazing.
"Again, qualifying was crucial. I just made it into Q2 by two tenths, so the pace was not fantastic, and we were lucky that [Nelson] Piquet made a mistake, otherwise he would also have been there [in Q1]. I managed to do a really good result with the car I have and then, [in the race], managed to keep a consistent pace and, with a bit of luck at the first corner, finish second.
"I was able to keep pace with Kimi, but I was not able to keep up with Fernando's pace. They were quicker this time - Renault was very strong, but it is a great result for the team in, I think, a very difficult moment. Everybody is pushing, but we cannot find better pace. I think, in normal conditions, it's very difficult to beat Felipe and Lewis but, as I said, everything can happen and the last three races – in Singapore, Monza and here – are good examples. I think it is a good boost for the last two races that we are still in the fight."