LONDON: BMW Sauber have confirmed the Formula One championship as a genuine three-way battle with a Canadian Grand Prix win that surpassed their target for the season.
After 24 races in a row won by Ferrari or McLaren, the Swiss-based team seized their chance in Montreal on Sunday with a one-two finish that showed they were more than just the best of the rest.
Back in January team boss Mario Theissen had set out the target - a first win for the team bought by the Munich manufacturer three years ago before a full title tilt in 2009.
The first target has been met and they could be well ahead of schedule on the second if their current consistency holds up.
Ferrari are now only three points ahead of them in the constructors’ standings while McLaren are 17 behind and the halfway point of the season fast approaching.
Poland’s Robert Kubica meanwhile leads McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa by four points in the driver standings.
“After the pit stop we had a feeling we’d be able to do it. ....it’s really special,” said Theissen after Kubica led German team mate Nick Heidfeld to the top of the podium.
“We were determined to win this race. But getting first and second wasn’t planned.”
It may be that BMW struggle to repeat such success this season but Sunday’s was no freak result despite Hamilton putting himself and Ferrari’s world champion Kimi Raikkonen out of the race with a pit-lane collision.
The team had led the constructors’ championship after Bahrain in April while Kubica started that race on pole position and had two second places and a third in the six races prior to Montreal.
He could have been on pole position on Sunday as well had Hamilton not pulled out a stupendous final lap in qualifying.
“Maybe the pace is still not the best but at this race we were right there,” said 23-year-old Kubica.
“The target this season was to win a race. We did it earlier than expected, I think,” said Kubica.
“What it will be in the future we don’t know and we have to work, we have to fight, to push.” – Reuters