by Russell Atkins

Robert Kubica has brushed off suggestions he has come back stronger than ever from his terrifying accident in Canada last month, despite securing the best grid slots of his brief Formula 1 career in the last two grands prix.

After lining up fourth in France seven days ago - in so doing out-qualifying BMW-Sauber team-mate Nick Heidfeld for only the second time in 2007 - the Pole will begin the British Grand Prix from fifth spot. As he did at Magny-Cours, he will be looking to maintain that position in the race.

"I'm the same as before," he insisted, speaking to at Silverstone. "It's true I've qualified fourth and fifth in the last two grands prix, but that's simply because we've managed to get a better balance and the car is working better.

"I think it will be difficult to get in front of Ferrari and McLaren, but I hope my pace will be good enough to keep my starting position and maybe if someone has a problem or makes a mistake I can gain a position.

"Renault were quite close to us in Magny-Cours too, and I think the gap is more-or-less the same again here. That's no surprise though - they've twice won the world championship in the past two years and are a strong team. We have to just work as hard as possible to stay in front of them."

Reflecting on the opening half of his maiden full campaign in the top flight - one that has yielded an unbroken run of top ten qualifying performances and four points finishes from eight races - the 22-year-old said it had not all been plain sailing, but was optimistic of continuing to take the fight to the infinitely more experienced Heidfeld as the year goes on.

"At the beginning of the season I had some problems," he admitted, "but now it's getting back to normal again so I'm happy. It's important to keep going in that same direction.

"I really don't care if I'm in front of my team-mate or not; I need to be in front of everybody, and if I can do that I will naturally beat my team-mate as well."



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