BMW continued to reaffirm their status as the 'third' power in Formula 1 despite the month-long break, although it was Robert Kubica and not Nick Heidfeld that was left leading the charge of the German team in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.

The first time the Pole has qualified ahead of his team-mate this season, Kubica's best came at the very end of the top ten shootout when his fastest time did enough to secure a slot on the third row and help him be classed as the 'best of the rest' behind the big four.

Kubica was particularly impressed with his final placing having struggled with balance problems, although it remains something that he admits could yet reoccur in the race if the conditions don't change.

"I am happy after that as I think the position is good considering I struggled with the balance of my car," he said. "This morning it was looking better, but then this afternoon I picked up oversteer.

"I hope tomorrow the condition of the track will be better with more rubber down, which should help me with my oversteer. I am now looking forward to a good race tomorrow with no problems. We are third in the championship and today we were the third strongest team."

With an eye on continuing his impressive start to the season, Heidfeld was also pleased with the performance that earned him seventh on the grid, even if it was not good enough to retain his perfect qualifying record against his team-mate.

"I am happy so far as my last lap was pretty good. The balance of my car was alright, and after yesterday's free practice we only did very minor changes. After only one run in Q2 we were already safe for the top ten, which means I have again saved a set of fresh tyres for the race. Normally my starts are quite good and luckily my grid position is on the clean side of the track."

Although the team had targeted a lockout of the third row, BMW Motorsport Director is nonetheless pleased his drivers will be starting the race from the cleaner side of the grid, something he believes will make all the difference on the crucial first lap.

"All in all we are satisfied with qualifying. We demonstrated after the four week break we are still the third best team on the grid. I am happy Robert was quick in the third part of qualifying and so was fifth, while Nick only missed the third row by a very small margin. For our drivers it is a good position for the race because both are on the clean side of the grid."



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