It was Australian Grand Prix weekend and for BMW Sauber, the most used word is disappointing. From the Friday free practice sessions on to qualifying the cars simply lacked the pace needed to compete with the obviously fast Brawn GP cars and the surprising Red Bulls. Both Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld complained about a serious lack of grip leaving them almost a full half second off the pace throughout practice.
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Even though Kubica managed a solid 4th in qualifying, both Brawn GP and Red Bull with Sebastien Vettel seemed as though they were going to have a race of their own.
On the opening lap of the race, Nick Heidfeld got caught up in a 3 car crash that sent him spinning off the track onto the grass and then into the pits for a new nose. Unfortunately the car had significant enough damage to keep him off the pace enough to be lapped.
On the other hand Robert Kubica had a good start, fought off a charge by both Ferrari drivers and held his 4th position for most of the race. Toward the end of the race the car seemed to hook up and at one point Kubica set the fastest lap of the race and after Barrichello in 3rd had his final pit stop of the day, Kubica began closing down the leaders. It was for him a great strategy to use the medium compound (or prime) tires for the last stint while Button and Vettel were on super soft tires that were worn badly by the last 10 laps of the race.
With only a handful of laps remaining Kubica had closed up on Vettel quickly and made his overtaking attempt which went horribly wrong when Vettel drifted wide, Kubica kept his ground and the two made contact. Vettel retired a lap later with his front left tire perpendicular to the car while Kubica driving with little front wing left ended up in the wall.
Disappointment yes, but what was clearly proven was that even though no points were scored, the F1.09 is competitive enough to win races. Kubica set a fastest lap of the day and if he hadn’t crashed out, he easily would have been able to have a go at Button for the race win.
Finally, I can’t let this end without mentioning the stunning race both Brawn GP cars had finishing 1-2 in their first grand prix ever.
This article is courtesy of BMWF1blog.com, the most important BMW Sauber F1 related blog.