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GP Week : Issue 101
Overtakes five cars in five laps to ensure minimum loss Kubica’s late-race blitz RENAULT’S Robert Kubica enjoyed an action-packed evening, after coming from 13th place to seventh, thanks to six magnificent overtaking manoeuvres in the closing laps, including one per lap for five laps. Kubica ran competitively all race and looked set to finish sixth ahead of Williams’ Rubens Barrichello but suffered a mysterious puncture on lap 45 forcing him to pit for a fresh set of rubber. “The last few laps were definitely the most exciting part of the race,” said Kubica after the race. “The engineers spotted a right-rear puncture on the data – it must have been some debris that cut the tyre, because I didn’t touch the wall and couldn’t feel anything in the cockpit.” With new tyres and a near-empty fuel tank, Kubica was immediately on the pace, and within one lap had risen to 12th after dispatching Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari. After a few failed attempts he finally got past the second Toro Rosso of Sebastien Buemi for 11th at Turn 14, thereby beginning a 10-minute run during which he passed one car every lap. After Buemi, next on the horizon was team-mate Vitaly Petrov, who he overtook at Turn 13 on Lap 52, before taking Felipe Massa on the next lap at Turn 14. That was the same location for his pass on Nico Hulkenberg on Lap 54, before completing the awesome recovery by passing Force India’s Adrian Sutil around the outside at Turn 7 on Lap 55, a move Hamilton had failed to pull off on Webber earlier in the race. With Barrichello some 30 seconds ahead in sixth, Kubica cruised across the line to take a well-deserved seventh, having opened an enormous 25-second gap on Sutil in the final six laps. “ The stop dropped me from sixth to 13th position. I had much fresher tyres than the cars in front in those last laps, but it’s still not easy to pass in Singapore, so it was good fun picking them off one by one,” he continued. “In the end, I got back to seventh place, which meant we only lost one position compared to our maximum this afternoon.” Another pointless weekend for Sauber NOT for the first time this year, Sauber endured a character-building race on Sunday, after both its cars failed to make it to the finish. Having started 10th, Kobayashi was hopeful of adding to his points tally, but in the end all the team left Singapore with were two damaged cars. The trouble began for the team on the first lap when Nick Heidfeld made contact with Force India’s Tonio Liuzzi at Turn 5. Then later in the race on Lap 30, Kamui Kobayashi made a mistake while pushing hard in ninth and stuck his car in the barriers at Turn 18. Unable to react quickly enough to the yellow flags, HRT ’s Bruno Senna joined Kobayashi in the barrier around the blind turn, forcing the emergence of the safety car for the second time. “It was clearly my mistake,” said the Japanese driver. “After I overtook Michael Schumacher I knew I had to push very, very hard to score a point, but meanwhile the tyres were completely gone. I misjudged this in that corner and crashed into the barrier. Then Bruno Senna crashed into my car as well. The overall damage is quite bad.” The team’s weekend came to a definitive conclusion six laps later when Heidfeld collided with fellow countryman Schumacher after the Mercedes driver tried to overtake his former test driver around the outside of Turn 14. The contact ended a rather lacklustre return to racing for Nick Heidfeld who also retired at this race last year. “In my view, Michael was braking a bit too late and knocked me out of the race,” said Heidfeld. “My race was compromised soon after the start anyway. Vitantonio Liuzzi wanted to pass me from a long way off on the outside in corner four. Then I believe he braked early and unfortunately I crashed into him.” Sixth double retirement for Swiss team 32