F1 »

Heidfeld `positive` for `09 after `bouncing back`.

He may be dubbed 'Quick Nick', but for much of 2008 Nick Heidfeld was anything but as he toiled in the shadow cast by in-form, title-challenging BMW-Sauber team-mate Robert Kubica – but he insists he has come out of the tunnel and is fighting fit again now for 2009.

Heidfeld began the campaign well with a strong second place to eventual Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton in the curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, and sixth position in Malaysia and fourth in Bahrain continued his solid early-season run – but then the problems began.

Having qualified inside the top six for each of the opening three races, the experienced German would only twice more better the fourth row of the grid over the remaining 15 outings, and in Hungary and Japan he missed the Q3 cut altogether – in what was acknowledged to be the third or at worst fourth-fastest car in the field.

With warming his tyres up sufficiently quickly to be able to shine over a single lap Heidfeld's major issue, he was frequently left on the back foot come the races, limiting his ability to challenge for the higher points-scoring finishes – as Kubica conversely racked up no fewer than seven rostrums and his and BMW's breakthrough grand prix victory in Montreal. It has not, he admitted, been the easiest of years.

“We had a car that at some stages of the season was capable of finishing at the front or on the podium, and Robert was in the position to fight for the championship for quite some time,” the 31-year-old told the official Formula 1 website, reflecting on a campaign during which his team-mate's star rose just as much as his own fell.

“That brought a lot of attention for him, and for me to be struggling at the same time obviously didn't look so good, but if you look towards the end of the season I turned things around. This bouncing back was quite satisfying for me, especially the way I managed the situation.

“Okay, first you shouldn't get into such a situation for sure, but then to get out of it [you should] not do anything stupid while you are in it. It is easy if you start at the back to say 'I will risk everything in the first corner' or try something that you normally would not do, but I didn't and I scored good points from the bad qualifying positions that I had.”

That Heidfeld undoubtedly did, as eleven points-scoring finishes attest to, and there were still flashes of brilliance, such as his bold tactical call and inspired double passes in the torrential downpour of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, and a dazzling last lap at Spa-Francorchamps that ultimately secured the man from Mönchengladbach his fourth runner-up spot of the campaign – and seventh of his career.

What's more, as Kubica seemed to encounter the same difficulties as had afflicted his team-mate early on in the closing stages, Heidfeld began to return to form – the legacy of a calm, methodical work ethic that saw him and his engineers eventually overcome his troubles, and a turnaround that has left him in confident spirits looking forwards to 2009.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber.F1.08 3rd, Australian F1 Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, 14-16th, March, 2008
French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
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 - Qualifying, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
26.11.2016 - Qualifying, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
26.11.2016 - Qualifying, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.