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Monday, June 9, 2008

Kubica shines, others whine

Robert Kubica continues to bask in the glow of his first Formula One victory, a day after winning the Canadian Grand Prix.

Kubica said the victory proves BMW Sauber is one of the big boys, although he is well aware of the help he received from Lewis Hamilton’s pitlane error, Sky reports.

Still, you cannot deny the facts, and Kubica sits at the top of the world drivers championship table, and BMW Sauber lies just three points behind leading constructor Ferrari.

Citing those statistics, and his team’s ability to challenge for race wins, Kubica said the Hinwil-based squad must now be considered in the same breath as Ferrari and McLaren.

Those thoughts were echoed by teammate Nick Heidfeld when questioned from the floor during yesterday’s post race press conference. The German also denied he had team orders to let Kubica by after the Pole came out of his first pitstop behind him.

Kubica quickly got past Heidfeld, but Quick Nick chalked that up to different strategies, and not to a specific order from the pit wall.

He added while he was happy for Kubica, he was disappointed to miss out on his career-best chance for a victory, Sky reports.

Spanish newspaper El Pais is more interested in Kubica’s next teammate, asking the race winner if he would welcome Fernando Alonso in the squad.

Kubica and Alonso are friends, often socializing together during race weekends, and the Polish star said he would enjoy working with Alonso, F1-Live reports.

Kubica said the Spanish double world champion is a straight talker who doesn't get caught up in marketing and promotion.

Heidfeld holds a contract with BMW Sauber for 2009, but as we all know, F1 contracts tend to be “flexible.”

Kubica said if Alonso were to join him at the team sometime in the future the pair would “have a lot of fun.”

He also told the Spanish newspaper he doesn’t see himself as a team leader, but rather sees his job is to focus on winning races.

Despite the teams landmark victory, technical director Willy Rampf remains grounded, telling Eurosport/AFP it was much too soon to talk about the world championship.

Rampf said while proud of the victory, he is mindful the team benefited from the pitlane incident, saying he believes Ferrari and McLaren are still ahead in overall performance.

Kubica is the first driver to lead the world championship not to drive with McLaren, Ferrari or Renault since the late '90s. The Pole will have the chance to further take advantage of one of his closest rivals in France, as Lewis Hamilton will be facing a ten place grid penalty.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis told Fox the collision which eliminated his young star was “just one of those things,” and the team accepted the penalty from the stewards.

Dennis said he was focused on the positives - the team was quick all weekend and should be able to maintain that pace for the rest of the season.

Ferrari team director Stefano Domenicali agreed the penalty was deserved, telling Gazzetta dello Sport Raikkonen was in a good position for victory.

Lost in the excitement surrounding the pitlane incident was the Ferrari had leapfrogged Hamilton during the pitstop.

The Ferrari chief also lamented the fueling problem which hurt Felipe Massa's race, but said the Brazilian fought well to earn fifth.

With disappointing results in both Canada and Monaco, Domenicali said Ferrari must now respond, and focus on returning to its winning ways. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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