Robert Kubica was a happy man after claiming his best result of the season in fourth place, although hopes of another double points finish for BMW were ruined by a retirement for Nick Heidfeld in the Spanish Grand Prix.

For Kubica, the Pole got a strong start to hold fifth from the opening lap, jumping up to fourth when Kimi Raikkonen retired on lap nine. Although a different pit strategy for team-mate Heidfeld threatened to move him back again, the German's problems helped him hold on to his strongest result of the year.

Kubica was duly delighted to reaffirm his status as a rising star after a trying start to the year, the five points for fourth moving him up to sixth in the standings just behind Heidfeld.

"I am very satisfied because this is my first race this season without any problems, and you can see the result. Today everything came together for me. I could fight for top places, and that is what I did today.

"I had quite a good, consistent race, although I had some problems with tyre degradation in the second stint when I was behind Alonso and Coulthard was closing the gap, but everything was under control. In the end, after the second pit stop, I tried to push and make the gap to Coulthard bigger. Now we have to continue working in this direction."

Heidfeld however was a bitterly disappointed contributor to the retirement list when he retired with gearbox woes. Even before that though he was already out of the running when a fumbling pit stop meant his right-front tyre had not been attached properly.

Forced to nurse his car back to the pit lane, Heidfeld plummeted down the order, much to his frustration, particularly as he believes his pit strategy would have seen him get ahead of Fernando Alonso again and finish on the podium.

"In the end it was most likely a gearbox problem that stopped me, but unfortunately my race was over much earlier after the problem during my first pit stop. For some reason the front right wheel was loose, we have to look at it how this happened.

"For the first 24 laps until this stop it looked superb for me. I drove a long first stint and my second stint would also have been a long one. On top of this Alonso was not very quick on the harder tyres in his second stint. I believe I had the chance to finish on the podium today."

Strengthening their third position in the constructor standings, Motorsport Director Mario Theissen admits he was disappointed to see Heidfeld, who had scored three fourth place finishes in a row, retire, even if Kubica's result nonetheless pleased him.

"We view the result with mixed emotions. Eight cars retiring was a lot today, and sadly we were among them - most likely it was a gearbox failure. But as disappointing as this is for us and for Nick, it was a positive result for Robert. He scored our fourth fourth place today, drove a very good race and our team is now established as the third strongest. At the end of the day the result is pleasing. "

 

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