Robert Kubica joined a small fraternity of drivers yesterday when he secured his first-ever Formula One victory at the Canadian Grand Prix. He becomes the fifth driver to claim maiden victory in Canada, hot on the heels (wheels?) of McLaren rival Lewis Hamilton, who won his first race here in 2007.
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Kubica, Nick Heidfeld, and the entire BMW Sauber team certainly deserved the victory, but it didn’t happen without some well-placed misfortune befalling Hamilton, who made a costly mistake and ran up the back of Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen at the end of the pit lane. The accident ended the race for both men, each of whom was quite capable of winning.
But Kubica happened to be in the right place at the right time, as did Heidfeld, and the whole thing came off without a hitch. The victory is not only Kubica’s first, but BMW Sauber’s first–a major triumph in a sport where finishing 8th can be considered an accomplishment. In finishing second, Heidfeld equalled his best-ever result, which happened to be in Canada just last year.
Said team principal Mario Theissen, “It is fantastic, I am overwhelmed. It is difficult to find the right words. Today just everything worked well. We hoped for another podium here in Montreal, but would not have dreamed to get a one-two victory. Congratulations to Robert and Nick and to the entire team at home in Munich and Hinwil. Today we achieved a milestone. Both drivers worked with no errors and the strategies paid off. I think we will have to celebrate a lot today.”
Way back in 1984, Nelson Piquet won in Canada driving a Brabham-BMW. That race marked BMW’s first victory as an engine supplier in F1. Twenty-four years on, the team is a winning constructor, too.
Congratulations to the entire team.
The win propels Kubica to the top of the driver’s standings, while the team has leapfrogged McLaren (which claimed exactly zero points yesterday) and now trails Ferrari by just three points.
The French GP is up next, on Sunday, June 22. Lots to think about in the interim….
Canada Race Results
1. Kubica–BMW Sauber
3. Coulthard–Red Bull
Driver’s Championship Top 6
Constructor’s Championship Top 6
2. BMW Sauber–70
4. Red Bull-Renault–21