by Russell Atkins

Nick Heidfeld has described his joy at claiming BMW-Sauber's best result of the 2007 season to date with second place in the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, after the squad beat Ferrari fair and square for the first time this year.

Following a scintillating qualifying run that saw the German snatch third spot on the grid right at the close - thereby more than living up to his paddock sobriquet 'Quick Nick' - Heidfeld then went onto pass Fernando Alonso at the start when the reigning double world champion ran off-piste through turns one and two, and pit-stops aside he would remain there quite comfortably for the remainder of the race.

"It was great!" he enthused to Crash.net afterwards. "It's very satisfying, particularly as everybody in the team has worked so hard. For me the fantastic and very unexpected thing is we would have finished second no matter what. We were simply quicker than both Ferraris and one of the McLarens too.

"After I left Fernando behind at the start I was quite sure he would be all over me and right on my gearbox, but he wasn't. At that point I realised it could be a good race for me and the gap just kept getting bigger and bigger. Admittedly the safety car periods did make things difficult because they kept throwing you off your rhythm and, like Lewis (Hamilton), I had pulled a gap out over the guys behind me only to then lose it all again."

With BMW-Sauber now feasibly laying claim to be the second-fastest team in the sport as things stand, Heidfeld is keenly anticipating the rest of the campaign - beginning with the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis in just a week's time - and at the same time happy that team-mate Robert Kubica seemingly escaped his horrifying-looking shunt in the race (see separate story) relatively and remarkably unscathed.

"First of all I'm really relieved to hear Robert is fine," he stressed. "I didn't see the crash, but everybody says it was a monster shunt.

"It's difficult to put into words how excited I am to be this strong at the moment. Indianapolis requires a similar level of downforce to Montreal, but in other ways the circuit is very different. I don't quite believe we will stay being quicker than the Ferraris, but here we clearly were."

 

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