Nick Heidfeld was yet again on hand to pick up the pieces when those ahead failed after scoring another strong fourth place result in the Turkish Grand Prix.

The sixth time the German has broken into the 'top four stronghold' occupied by McLaren and Ferrari this season, the result consolidates Heidfeld's fifth place in the standings on the same weekend he was confirmed as a BMW driver for 2008.

Although he was out-qualified by team-mate Robert Kubica, Heidfeld jumped a place to fifth at the start at the expense of Fernando Alonso when he lived up to his reputation as an aggressive starter and managed to track him around the outside of the first turn.

While Alonso would find his way past after the first round of pit stops, Heidfeld remained fifth after leapfrogging Kubica himself too. Looking comfortable in that position through the latter stages of the race, Heidfeld gained another spot when Lewis Hamilton experienced his tyre problems.

Crossing the line in fourth, it maintains Heidfeld's run of scoring in every race he has finished this year (he has suffered just two retirements), a result he was more than content to come away with.

"I am very happy about this result, as the team did a fantastic job. The race strategy, the tyre choice and the pit stops - everything worked perfectly. We made the most out of everything. The start especially was great fun. As the lights went out it wasn't so good, because I was on the dirty side, but then I was able to overtake the others on the outside.

"I was braking very late for turn one and, once again, I came very close to Fernando Alonso. Of course I dreamt I could keep him behind me over the distance, but we knew he would refuel later than me. After the stop he was in front of me and he was also faster. I pushed very hard for the whole race, and only in the very last laps I felt a little less pressure."

Kubica meanwhile struggled to make a risky low-fuel strategy work, the Pole getting a great start to run fourth in the early stages but gradually drop back as others pitted later than him. Eventually he would cross the line a rather despondent eighth, clutching just the 11th fastest lap of the race.

"It was a very hard race and I just hadn't got enough speed. Also when I was lighter in the first stint I could not build up a big enough gap. Every time I pitted someone was overtaking me. I did not have enough speed throughout the whole race, and this also meant I was not able to overtake. I suppose my problems were a bit of everything and I just found the car difficult to drive."

 

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