Japanese GP: BMW Sauber Saturday qualifying notes

It was mixed fortunes for the BMW Sauber F1 Team in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix. Nick Heidfeld has qualified in the top ten for the ninth time this season, but an off track excursion meant that at the Suzuka track for the first time ...

It was mixed fortunes for the BMW Sauber F1 Team in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix. Nick Heidfeld has qualified in the top ten for the ninth time this season, but an off track excursion meant that at the Suzuka track for the first time Robert Kubica missed taking part in the final session of qualifying. Nick qualified ninth while Robert was 12th.

Nick Heidfeld:

"Everything was okay, and qualifying went as expected. It is obvious the fastest four are on a different tyre to us. Also we have to wait and see how their race strategy turns out. During the last part of qualifying there were a few rain drops on my visor, but they didn't have any impact on the grip."

Robert Kubica:

"First qualifying was pretty good for me, but in second qualifying I suddenly got a lot of oversteer. I had two scary moments and the lap time was not very good, but we had a second set of tyres. On these I was about three and a half tenths quicker into corner five, but unfortunately then there was a lot of wind and I picked up a lot of understeer and lost two tenths."

"However, I was still quicker, but then I arrived into corner eight and the bottom of the car touched the inside kerb, which put me on the outside kerb and this pushed me on the grass. I was sliding through the gravel and was very close to the barrier. We now hope for a good race tomorrow as I think we have good tyres, even though the overall grip is not fantastic."

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):

"Robert missed the third part of qualifying by a small margin, as on his decisive lap he went off the track so was 12th. Nick, as in his recent races, made it into the top ten. In the third part of qualifying the weather played a part as, due to the light rain, we stopped our long run to fit new tyres for our fast lap. Finally Nick qualified 9th, and from our starting positions I think we can do well."

Willy Rampf (Technical Director):

"All in all we are satisfied with Nick's starting position, and confident for the race. We hoped to make up one or two positions at the end, but we don't know what fuel loads our competitors are carrying. Maybe we will see a few surprises tomorrow."

"For the first time Robert didn't make it into the top ten, as he had to stop his second run in the second part of qualifying after going off. For him it is the first time in Suzuka and on Friday he didn't have the chance to drive very much. Free practice today is not much of a preparation for such a challenging track.

Nick Heidfeld
Chassis/engine: BMW Sauber F1.06-04/BMW P86
Qualifying: 9th, 1:31.513

Robert Kubica
Chassis/engine: BMW Sauber F1.06-09/BMW P86
Qualifying: 12th, 1:31.094

-credit: bmw sauber

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Nick Heidfeld , Robert Kubica , Mario Theissen
Teams Sauber