Bahrain Gp: Kubica Makes History as First Pole to Be Pole

Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England), April 6, 2008 | Go to article overview

Bahrain Gp: Kubica Makes History as First Pole to Be Pole


Byline: IAN PARKES at Manama

ROBERT Kubica yesterday created Formula One history - but it has come at a price.

In starting today's Bahrain Grand Prix at the front of the grid, Kubica becomes the first Pole on pole in the sport's 59 years.

It is also the first time since the Chinese Grand Prix in October 2006 that neither Ferrari nor McLaren are at the head of affairs.

BMW Sauber star Kubica does have the drivers from those teams breathing down his neck as Felipe Massa is alongside him on the front row, with current championship leader Lewis Hamilton third.

Then behind the young Briton comes reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen and another Finn in Heikki Kovalainen.

Naturally, neither Kubica nor the entire BMW Sauber team could contain their delight at finally taking the spotlight away from F1's big hitters.

Kubica, though, has had to suffer of late for his art, with the 23-year-old made to go on a diet before the season started.

Standing six feet exactly, Kubica is already a beanpole, and he concedes dieting for a man of his slender frame was far from easy.

But he is reaping the rewards because even the few pounds he has lost can make a difference of tenths of seconds on a given lap.

"We decided for technical reasons to reduce my weight as much as possible, and I tried to do my best in February and March," said Kubica.

"It was not easy, and now I weigh much less than the average for a guy who is one metre 85 (centimetres).

"But it makes for a profit in my performance, and this has been a key for me being so strong at the start of the season."

Kubica narrowly missed out on pole in the season-opening race in Australia before finishing a career-high second a fortnight ago in Malaysia.

For the mild-mannered Kubica, he can appreciate there is a growing sense of anticipation within his homeland as his hero status grows.

"In Poland, after my second place in Malaysia there have been high expectations," remarked Kubica.

"All I can say is that we all expected to be strong, despite the problems we had at the beginning of winter testing.

"The guys worked hard, which is an example of never giving up, of pushing as hard as possible, even if there are problems.

"We managed to be ready in time for Australia with nearly the full potential of the car.

"But there is still work to do, and we will do our best to improve the car even more."

As in Melbourne, Kubica thought he was going to be denied again as the seconds counted down in the closing stages of the third qualifying period.

"After missing out on the chance in Australia, I am happy I've not had to wait too long for this," smiled Kubica.

"Q1 and Q2 were so-so, and then in Q3 the first run was good, but I made a mistake in the last corner.

"On my second run I flat-spotted a tyre through turn nine. There was quite a lot of vibration on the tyre and the car was pulling to one side.

"I was not expecting to be on pole after this mistake, but of course I'm happy."

Hamilton thanked his mechanics for working through the night to provide him with a car that has given him a shot at winning today. …

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