When a Hamilton mishap handed Kubica F1 victory in Canada

In an alternative universe somewhere Robert Kubica and BMW Sauber received the 2008 entire world championship, selecting up the pieces with canny regular scoring as equally McLaren and Ferrari dropped the ball.

It would seem a small much-fetched now, but for a few weeks in the center of that period it seemed achievable. Victory in Canada put the Polish driver into the entire world championship direct, and for a several races thereafter he was however extremely much in the blend as none of his rivals could place a run of final results together.

Alas a run of misfortune and a misguided decision by the group management to aim on 2009 and not to preserve up the progress rate meant that he progressively pale from perspective.

Furthermore: How BMW-Sauber blew its likelihood of title glory

No a single could have predicted on that Sunday evening in Montreal that neither Kubica nor BMW would ever earn an additional race. Certainly, by the conclusion of 2009 the Munich producer was long gone from F1.

Amid considerations about the monitor breaking up Lewis Hamilton was quickest for most of qualifying, prior to he was demoted to 2nd by Kubica proper at the conclude.

Nevertheless the McLaren ace was on a rapid lap of his own, and he regained pole at the really final second. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Renault’s Fernando Alonso ended up next up.

Fix operate continued on the observe right up until the quite last moment, and in the conclude the floor was not a important situation when the race got underway. The genuine problem was the prospect of an inevitable protection vehicle interlude, and just how a single could possibly shake things up.

From anticipations it was an unusually clean up first lap. Hamilton billed absent at the start out, and he experienced opened up an edge of almost 7 seconds by lap 17 on Kubica, Raikkonen and the Williams of Nico Rosberg.

At that stage a safety motor vehicle was sent out to allow for the retrieval of Adrian Sutil’s Pressure India, which had stopped with a gearbox trouble. All Hamilton’s good operate was hence undone as the rest of the field shut up.

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4/23 leads at the start of the race

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4/23 qualified prospects at the start of the race

Image by: Sutton Photographs

The timing was just about right for people who had qualified mild, and once the area had been bunched up and the pitlane opened, the frontrunners all charged into the pitlane.

McLaren gave Hamilton a minimal a somewhat substantial gasoline load, and the further time at relaxation combined with the team’s place in the center of the pitlane intended that when he pulled out of his pitbox Kubica and Raikkonen experienced each crushed him absent. The pair indulged in a drag race down to the conclude of the pitlane, where a crimson light induced them to stop aspect by side.

The character of the first two turns in Montreal suggests that the light-weight stays on longer than at other tracks, to reduce individuals earning stops from charging straight out and barging into the queue. Juan Pablo Montoya did just that in 2005 and was black-flagged, and Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella experienced both of those built the similar slip-up in 2007.

And nevertheless irrespective of the notoriety of the Montreal lights Hamilton, perhaps distracted by the fact that he’d misplaced two destinations, unsuccessful to quit in time. At the past next he swerved to the remaining and ran tricky into the again of Raikkonen, taking off the Ferrari’s rear wing and breaking his possess front suspension.

Rosberg produced the identical mistake, and ran into the McLaren. The German was ready to continue with a broken nose unit, but Hamilton and Raikkonen were being out on the spot. When the environmentally friendly gentle arrived on Kubica calmly drove out on to the track – the race was now his to eliminate.

McLaren people did their best to protect their chastened driver, but there was no concern that they ended up particularly discouraged with him. By way of defence the team admitted that a radio reminder about the crimson gentle maybe came a tiny far too late. Even so, the onus is constantly on the driver to have his wits about him.

“I feel Lewis realized the video game, and understood the problem,” reported Martin Whitmarsh. “In fairness I can see how, in the adrenaline of the instant, he observed the two vehicles stopped, and believed is there a way I can pull together with and out jump them?

“There was a second of distraction there, and he did not very get it ideal, as without a doubt did Nico a 2nd later. He saw the light-weight, he was explained to about it, but I imagine he was conjuring a number of items in his mind at the time, and manufactured a miscalculation….”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4-23, leads Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber F1.08, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari F2008, Nico Rosberg, Williams FW30, and Fernando Alonso, Renault R28

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4-23, sales opportunities Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber F1.08, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari F2008, Nico Rosberg, Williams FW30, and Fernando Alonso, Renault R28

Picture by: Andrew Ferraro / Motorsport Illustrations or photos

Hamilton and Rosberg both of those obtained 10-put grid penalties for the following race in France.

In the meantime a lot of of the drivers had stayed out since they have been operating lengthy and prepared to quit only as soon as. The new leader was Kubica’s BMW workforce-mate Nick Heidfeld, who experienced a fairly superior fuel load. He experienced the alternative to prevent at the time or twice, thanks to the safety motor vehicle stretching matters out a bit.

The chief of all those who experienced by now stopped was Kubica, way back in 10th, with Alonso just at the rear of him.

Heidfeld experienced a apparent monitor and was about 13s apparent of the Honda of Rubens Barrichello when he finally came in on lap 29. The BMW staff made the decision to break up methods and gas him to the stop.

He emerged just in front of Kubica. With a significant load and the significantly less favoured tyres, he produced no try to maintain his workforce-mate behind, allowing the lighter and more quickly vehicle by way of.

We now experienced a intriguing race in prospect involving the two BMWs – Kubica in “dash” spec with 1 end continue to to make, and Heidfeld operating to the flag in significantly less than excellent circumstances.

Progressively all the just one-stoppers came in, and it created for a succession of unforeseen leaders – very first Barrichello, and then Crimson Bull’s David Coulthard, and lastly the Toyotas of Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock.

When Glock stopped Kubica eased into the guide, and it was now all about how a great deal of a gap he could pull on his staff-mate. When he came in for his 2nd prevent on lap 49 he experienced accomplished just enough to remain in front.

“The very last car went into the pits, I assume it was Glock,” reported Kubica. “And then I experienced 8 laps to make 16 or 17-next margin to come back after my pitstop in front of Nick.

“That was my seven laps of qualifying. I hardly ever struggled so much, and I was pushing quite tough as I realized I had to make all around a 21-second hole. And I managed to do 24, so it was a fantastic race.”

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber F1.08

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber F1.08

Photograph by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Photos

Thereafter it was a demonstration run to the flag for the two BMW males, with shock 3rd-area driver Coulthard only a distant menace.

“It is amazing to win my initially race for BMW Sauber which I joined from the beginning,” explained the happy winner.

“We have grown up jointly and many thanks to the team for giving a good vehicle and we managed to do a 1st and second. Perhaps the pace is however not the greatest, but at this race we were suitable there.

“The initially stint I couldn’t match Lewis’ pace as we experienced some pressure issues, but later on we modified the force, and the car felt incredibly very good.”

It was a excellent day for those Sauber veterans who had been onboard due to the fact 1993. Between those with the greatest smiles was group supervisor Defeat Zehnder, whose profession with the group went way back again to the Mercedes Team C times, when he was a mechanic.

He’s nevertheless at Alfa Romeo as sporting director right now, and he continues to be a close close friend of present-day driver Kimi Raikkonen. For as soon as on that working day in Canada he didn’t thoughts that his Finnish pal had endured a bit of misfortune.

“I’m speechless, I never know what to say,” he explained. “I am confused. It’s been 15 and a half several years in F1, 260 races, so it’s a quite bad regular. It can be only chief mechanic Urs Kuratle and me who did all the races in F1.

“Two or three periods we have been incredibly shut, with Jean Alesi, with Heinz-Harald Frentzen, with Johnny Herbert, and now it occurred. I imagine we deserved this acquire, and not only in phrases of the size that we were in F1.

“In a way I would like we could have received a race with Peter Sauber, since clearly he created the highway to what we have now, to what we are now, and I am very positive he would appreciate to be right here.

“But he is an ambassador of the European soccer championships, so he experienced to be at the opening video game!”

In the post-race pleasure it was simple to neglect the simple fact that Heidfeld had brought the other auto household in a strong next area.

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren Mercedes MP4/23 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari F2008 crash at the end of the pit lane

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren Mercedes MP4/23 and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari F2008 crash at the close of the pit lane

Photograph by: Sutton Pictures

Beneath pressure many thanks to a struggles in qualifying, the German confronted the hard job of running to the flag with a weighty fuel load after pitting on lap 29. It was the more laps clawed back again below the safety automobile that bought him into a window that allowed a one particular-prevent operate.

“This was not planned,” BMW complex director Willy Rampf reported. “We altered the system and we ended up talking about it until eventually the last lap, ahead of he came in.

“Should really we alter it or not? One particular issue was we had to fill the motor vehicle, and we experienced to operate with comfortable tyres, and you can find not a good deal of margin on the brakes. So it was a substantial risk, but it paid out.

“He was undertaking a superior tempo, but this is also the robust side of Nick, that he can handle this situation, due to the fact this was not prepared. He taken care of a incredibly heavy vehicle, with the very comfortable tyres, and with the brakes getting on the limit all the time, so he did a incredibly intelligent race.”

It was an intriguing afternoon, and the result was a refreshing a person. But with out the pit incident, the unrealised prospect of Hamilton, Raikkonen and Kubica sitting down facet by side at the end of the pitlane, waiting around for the eco-friendly light-weight, was a tantalising one. And right after that it would have been a serious battle to the flag. So truly Canada 2008 was a case of the race we failed to see.

“What would have been fantastic Television set would have been the three of them dragging off the line,” said one McLaren insider. “I feel Lewis would have lined up along with them, and you can overtake all the way to the safety car line.

“It would have acquired incredibly fascinating, because the observe is not huge adequate for a few vehicles, and somebody would have experienced to give way, or all of them shunted!

“And just after that there would have been a large danger of just one of the automobiles currently being pushed around the white line…”

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber F1 08, 1st position, celebrates on the podium

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber F1 08, 1st situation, celebrates on the podium

Image by: LAT Illustrations or photos/Motorsport Images

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