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Malaysia Race notes - WilliamsF1

NEWS STORY
20/03/2005

The BMW WilliamsF1 Team achieved its first podium of the season today with a brilliant 3rd place from Nick Heidfeld, who also equalled his best Formula One finish ever. With 20 laps to go Mark Webber retired after an accident when he was battling for third position.

Nick Heidfeld: I am very happy, this was the most exciting race I ever had in F1. I pushed hard from the start since I had to recover from my 10th grid position and I had a good race with some exciting overtaking. It was real fun. At a lot of stages I got involved in battles with two other cars and we had several good fights, but in the end I got the upper hand. The car performed well and so did the BMW engine and our Michelin tyres. Still, as usual in a hot race when it is the last thing you would like to happen, I had a problem with the drink bottle from the very first laps, which made my life more difficult.

Mark Webber: I had a pretty good start and set it into a reasonable rhythm and after the first pit stop I started to catch Fisichella who was holding me up quite a lot as his tyres were finished. I had Ralf behind me and I knew he could pounce anytime. We had a tight fight but I got in front of him in the end. Then with 20 laps to go I closed up with Fisichella again. His tyres were getting worse and worse, I passed him at turn 14 and left him plenty of room. Then Giancarlo came on the inside on the next corner and I knew it would be difficult for him to stop on the dirty side. I went back onto the clean side and I think Fisi braked too late, locked his tyres on the dirty stuff, lost the rear end and took my car out.

Sam Michael (Technical Director WilliamsF1): It was a good day for us showing that the car performance is improving steadily. Nick proved himself to be a fantastic racer with all the overtaking he did without causing any incident. He drove the second fastest lap of the race and finished third coming from tenth. We have scored some points which we definitely needed and it is a shame that Mark had this coming together with Fisichella. However, that’s racing. Today the car has been competitive. But we know we need to push hard to close the gap to Renault. We had no mechanic problems.

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): It is pleasing to come away with a podium from this tough challenge. Both the drivers showed strong racing today. I am especially happy for Nick. After a bad qualifying he managed to find his way onto the podium. Before his accident, it was Mark who had third place in sight. Both engines came through this very hot race absolutely troublefree, thanks to our crew in Munich. The telemetry on Nick’s car failed to work until just before the 2nd pit-stop therefore until that point our engineers had no data about the engine’s condition.

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