Kubica creates history by winning Canadian F1June 9th, 2008 - 1:47 pm ICT by IANS
Montreal, June 9 (DPA) Robert Kubica won the Canadian Grand Prix from BMW team-mate Nick Heidfeld as Formula One history was made after Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen had to retire over a bizarre pit lane shunt. The first career win Sunday for Kubica and for BMW-Sauber as an independent team in the sport came 12 months after the first Polish driver in the sport miraculously escaped a horror crash on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve all but unharmed.
Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were punished for their accident at a refuelling stop.
Kubica’s win over Heidfeld came just minutes ahead of another German-Polish duel, on the football pitch at Euro 2008 in Austria.
If the victory wasn’t good enough, Kubica also claimed the world championship lead from fourth place before the race with 42 points. Hamilton and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa have 38 each and Raikkonen 35.
“This is fantastic for our team, for myself and my country. It is fantastic to win the first race for BMW. We grew up together,” said Kubica, who came to BMW when the current team was formed in 2006.
“It is sensational,” said BMW motorsport chief Mario Theissen, whose team had named a race win the season goal.
It was the first win for BMW-Sauber, while Ralf Schumacher won in 2001 for a BMW-powered Williams on the same course.
BMW made the most of a rookie mistake by the British McLaren-Mercedes driver Hamilton in the 18th lap with the one-two finish ahead of Scot David Coulthard in a Red Bull.
Hamilton, Ferrari driver Raikkonen, Kubica and several others went into the pits to refuel when the safety car was on the track in the 18th lap to allow Adrian Sutil’s Force India car to be taken off the course.
Raikkonen and the BMW driver Kubica exited side by side but had to stop at the end of pit lane in front of a red light because the safety car and other cars were passing on the track.
Hamilton seemingly realised too late that the others had stopped and drove into Raikkonen’s car. The incident forced both to retire and prompted a post-race investigation by race stewards. Both Hamilton and Rosberg will be forced to start back 10 places in the next race in Magny-Cours, France, officials decided.
Raikkonen patted Hamilton on the shoulder and pointed his finger at the signal when he walked past the unfortunate Briton.
Hamilton was leading an incident-free race from pole ahead of Kubica and Raikkonen at the time, set to win like last year.
“I can only say ‘Sorry Kimi,’ said Hamilton, who accepted the blame. “I don’t really know what happened.”
Kubica, who was lucky that Hamilton did not hit him, said: “We were pitting together and the red light was still on. I just heard a big shunt and saw Kimi moving. Then I saw Lewis.”
BMW reacted quickly and let Heidfeld race on a one-stop strategy, the German refuelling in the 29th of 70 laps. Kubica remained on a two-stop strategy as had he had already been to the pits just before the Hamilton incident.
Due to refuelling the race saw unfamiliar leaders such as German Timo Glock, Coulthard and Italian Jarno Trulli before the pecking order was restored in the end.
Heidfeld was attacked by Renault’s ex-champion Fernando Alonso who first almost drove into the German but then crashed out in the 44th. This duel cost him time and allowed Kubica to hold on to the lead after refuelling for the second time for the big and emotional win.
Kubica crossed the finish line after 70 laps and 305.270 kilometres in 1 hour 36 minutes 24.447 seconds.
“We achieved our aim from before the season to win a race. Its a great satisfaction to have both on the podium. We had to take risks before the season and they have now paid off,” said BMW technical director Willi Rampf.
Heidfeld, who was happy with his result after struggling in recent races, added that BMW are not finished yet.
“It shows that we are going in the right direction. We achieved the goal which was quite high. We wanted to win a race. Next year we want to fight for the championship and will work flat out for that.”
In the points behind the leading trio came Timo Glock of Germany in a Toyota Massa, who at least partly restored Ferrari pride, Glock’s team-mate Trulli, Honda’s Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, and German Sebastian Vettel in a Toro Rosso.
The F1 season continues with the French Grand Prix in Magny Cours on June 22.
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Tags: bmw motorsport, bmw sauber, bmw team, canadian grand prix, david coulthard, ferrari driver, football pitch, force india, formula one history, horror crash, india car, kimi raikkonen, mario theissen, mate nick, mclaren mercedes, nick heidfeld, nico rosberg, ralf schumacher, scot david coulthard, season goal