BMW Sauber Rookie Takes A Point
Topics: Sebastian Vettel, United States Grand Prix
June 19, 2007
The United States Grand Prix held last Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the first race this season that BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica had to miss. The Polish Formula One driver was injured at the Canadian Grand Prix and was not cleared to participate at the seventh race of the Formula One season. Taking the spot behind the wheel of Kubica’s car was rookie German Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel.
On his first Formula One race, Sebastian Vettel gave BMW Sauber the only point they have to show for after the United States Grand Prix. The German driver finished eighth which gave him and team BMW Sauber a single point. Vettel started on the seventh spot in the grid after the qualifying session.
“It was fantastic, a lot of fun but a longer race than I ever imagined it to be,” says Vettel who recorded the most number of laps run at the practice session leading to the race. “I think I am quite lucky to get away with a point as the first corner was quite tight. I had an okay start, but not a very good one. When I saw the cars were close I decided to brake just a little bit later and then caught up quickly to those in front of me. To avoid an incident I decided to cut turn two and lost a lot of places. After that I was stuck in traffic which more or less destroyed our strategy.”
With only a single point to their credit at the United States Grand Prix, BMW Sauber now only led Renault by 14 points. Renault driver Heikki Kovalainen finished fifth which gave Renault four points. But Vettel’s performance at the United States Grand Prix is a good one overall although his car’s full potential was not exhibited. The car used by Vettel is the F1.07 with a BMW P86/7 engine complete with highly reliable BMW spark plugs.
“It is good to finish the first race and better still in the points. The car was working well. I could have been a bit quicker, but quite often I was stuck in traffic and it is extremely difficult to overtake here as the other guys are not sleeping and they know how to defend. In the end when I saw the chequered flag I was quite relieved. I am quite happy for me and the team who have done a fantastic job. I can only say thank you to all my mechanics and engineers who were supporting me,” says Vettel.
BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld, on the other hand, was forced to retire after his Formula One car suffered from a hydraulic malfunction. Before that problem, Heidfeld was performing well. “I had a good start and overtook Kimi,” he said. “On the first stint my speed was okay, and it was only in the beginning that Felipe Massa could pull away a little bit. Later when I was braking for turn one the rear wheels just locked and I spun. When I wanted to get going again, I couldn't get a gear, which was why Heikki Kovalainen could pass me,” the German Formula One driver explained.
BMW Sauber’s Technical Director summed up their team’s performance saying: “Sebastian gave away his chances for a good result in the first corner after the start… At least in the end we scored one point.”
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