Nick Heidfeld knows BMW is facing a fierce fight with a resurgent Renault in the French Grand Prix, but believes should the predicted rain arrive in time for the race, anything could happen.

Although the German was out-qualified by returning team-mate Robert Kubica for only the second time this season, he will nevertheless line up well inside the top ten on the starting grid in seventh, a considerable improvement on his traffic-afflicted 15th position in final free practice and more importantly still on the cleaner side of the track. He insisted his back pain from Silverstone had not affected his performance, and said he was relishing a prospect of a wet race, what would be Formula 1's first since China last year.

"Qualifying was ok," Heidfeld acknowledged, "but not particularly good so I am not completely satisfied with my grid position. On my last outing in the first chicane the rear was very nervous and the car was oversteering. Nevertheless, the balance of the car was better than on Friday. My lap times from this morning didn't reflect the true performance because I had too much traffic.

"My back didn't cause me any trouble at all. It was a painful muscle cramp and this was treated successfully on Friday night. Obviously Ferrari is stronger than us and Renault has caught up. For tomorrow the weather forecast predicts rain and I would welcome a wet race. We haven't had one for quite a while and I like driving in the rain a lot. It could mix up the field and provide good entertainment for the spectators."

"We had a trouble-free qualifying," concurred technical director Willy Rampf, "and it demonstrated that we improved the set-up of the cars after Friday's free practices. In the eighth qualifying session of the season we made it in the top ten with both cars for the eighth time, so we are very satisfied with the result."

 

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