Posts Tagged ‘Nick Heidfeld’

Kubica's crash rocked the F1 paddock

Nick Heidfeld has written an open letter to injured Robert Kubica to wish him a speedy recovery from his career-threatening smash.

The Pole suffered severe injuries in February after crashing during the Ronde di Andora rally.

Kubica underwent seven hours of surgery to save his right hand before having operations on his shoulder and leg, and later on his elbow.

Heidfeld was drafted in by Renault as a late replacement for him and scored a podium in Malaysia last weekend. It was the German’s thirteenth podium of his career – the most podiums any driver has won without winning a race.

Heidfeld and Kubica were team-mates for three seasons at BMW between 2007 and 2009.

The Renault driver wrote to German newspaper Bild and asked them to print the following letter:

Dear Robert,

Did you see that I printed your logo on the front of my helmet, and painted the Polish flag on the side? I wanted you to see that and to let you know that I’m thinking of you. I wanted to show your fans that you are a part of Formula 1 and of this team. This third place is also yours!

During the race I was often thinking of you. Crossing the finish line, happiness totally flooded my head. I know what you are thinking right now: “Lotus Renault GP has built such a wonderful car this year. I want to get back as soon as possible and drive it!”

You can do it, I wish you all the best for your rehabilitation. Get well soon!

Yours,

Nick

Sweet taste of success for Vettel again

Sebastian Vettel held off a late charge from Jenson Button to win a thrilling Malaysian Grand Prix.

Vettel, starting on pole, only relinquished his lead during the pitstops as he secured his fourth consecutive victory and the twelfth of his career.

Vettel said: “We could control it [the race], but it was never easy. When Jenson was behind me I could control the gap.”

Renault’s Nick Heidfeld joined him and Button on the podium after holding off Mark Webber in the closing laps.

The Ferrari pair of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso finished fifth and sixth, ahead of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.

But Alonso and Hamilton were penalised after a crash while fighting over third and both had twenty seconds added to their time. Alonso stayed sixth but Hamilton was classified eighth behind Kamui Kobayashi.

Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher and Force India’s Paul di Resta finished ninth and tenth respectively. The Brit becomes first rookie to score points finishes in his first two races since Hamilton in 2007.

Vettel, without KERS, led into the first corner from the fast-starting Heidfeld who moved up from sixth. Hamilton and Button followed the two Germans but Webber made a dreadful start slipping from third to tenth.

The top-four stayed as they were until the first round of stops during which Heidfeld slipped to fifth behind the two McLaren’s and Alonso as drizzle hit the track.

Webber’s entertaining comeback drive was epitomised by a thrilling battle with Kobayashi early on as the impact of the new Drag Reduction System (DRS) became evident.

A slow third-stop for Hamilton with twenty laps to go allowed Button to take second and left him in the clutches of the charging Alonso.

Alonso tried to pass Hamilton on lap 46 into turn four but got too close behind the Brit and clipped the McLaren’s right-rear tyre and damaged his front-wing.

The Spaniard pitted for a new front-wing as Hamilton appeared unscathed. But the McLaren slowed as his tyres fell away and was overtaken by Heidfeld and Webber before making a fourth-stop with just four laps left.

He came out just behind Petrov in eighth only for the Russian to spectacularly crash three laps from the finish. Petrov ran wide at turn eight and shot in the air off a grass mound and his steering wheel came off in his lands as he landed.

Alonso was pleased with Ferrari’s performance despite the tangle with Hamilton.

Today we were fighting with the McLarens and Webber – and that was a surprise for us,” he said.

But Hamilton was less happy and appeared very downbeat at the end.

“This is racing, I guess,” Hamilton said dejectedly. “I started second and did everything I could to keep up and I don’t really have too much to say.

“It started [when] I got stuck behind Heidfeld, I had Jenson on my inside and Heidfeld on my outside so squashed into Turn One.

“It was difficult to defend without hitting them but that’s racing sometimes.

“Through the race, my tyres went off, we boxed [pitted] too early, that made us box earlier again, all the time we were boxing early.

“My tyres were done on the end. I have to take it on the chin and see how it goes,” said the 2008 world champion.

Williams and Hispania endured frustrating days as both cars retired. Neither team has managed a finish in the first two races.

They will have to regroup quickly with the Chinese Grand Prix next weekend.

Webber was in a class of one

Red Bull once again set the pace during an eventful Friday’s first free practice session as Mark Webber obliterated the field in Malaysia.

The Australian’s lap of 1.37.651 was a full 1.6 seconds quicker than Lewis Hamilton in second place.

Michael Schumacher demonstrated Mercedes’ pre-weekend confidence by taking third ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Williams’ Pastor Maldonado who both impressed.

Ferrari pair Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso were sixth and ninth, sandwiching Renault’s Nick Heidfeld and the second Williams of Rubens Barrichello. Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg rounded out the top-ten.

World champion Sebastian Vettel finished in a lowly seventeenth, nearly four seconds off the pace.

For Webber out in front the session progressed serenely as he strung together a series of fastest laps.

But many of his rivals struggled to cope with the slippery Sepang track. Hamilton, Alonso and Sauber’s Sergio Perez all took to the grass in the latter stages.

Early pacesetter Nick Heidfeld lost valuable practice time after he suffered brake failure going into the first corner. After topping the timesheets his Renault’s right-front locked solid and the German had to limp back to the pits.

Heidfeld had to sit out the rest of the session as the team were unable to fix the brakes in the hour remaining.

Team-mate Vitaly Petrov fared little better as he sat out the first hour with a problem at the rear of the car. When he did get out he crashed almost immediately under braking at turn nine when the front-left of his car exploded.

Virgin’s Jerome d’Ambrosio suffered an almost identical crash in the last two minutes of the session at the final corner. The front-right suspension appeared to snap under braking as he overtook a slow Hispania pitching him into the gravel trap.

Both Renault and Virgin have extensive rebuilds to do before the second practice session which gets underway at 7am (BST).