Nick Heidfeld his hoping that the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve, home to his stunning second place last year, will once again be kind to him as he seeks to rejuvenate his 2008 season after a difficult few races.
The BMW Sauber driver has been out-qualified by his on-song team-mate Robert Kubica on all six occasions this year and has only once out-raced the Pole on Sunday. Chief amongst the causes behind his recent dip in form is a problem with his tyres, particularly in low temperatures where the German has struggled to bring them up to speed for the single lap.
In the season’s latest foray at Monte Carlo last week the German struggled to even make it into the third qualifying knock-out session while an over-ambitious overtaking manoeuvre by Fernando Alonso ruined the 31-year-old’s chances in the race.
As the F1 entourage heads across the Atlantic for the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, Heidfeld is hoping to put in a similar performance to that of last year, where he trailed Lewis Hamilton home to second place after keeping out of trouble in the incident-packed race, as well as doggedly fending off a rattled Fernando Alonso.
“Last year’s Canadian Grand Prix was a very special race for me,” reflected the BMW ace.
“We put in a very strong showing in 2007. I came third in qualifying and finished second in the race on my own merit. Initially that result was obviously overshadowed by Robert’s accident. Only when we knew he was okay were we able to celebrate.”
“Of course I’m very much hoping I’ll do well in qualifying this time. I’m working with the engineers to get the tyres back fast enough into the temperature zone where they really build up grip.”
Heidfeld’s impressive second place went someway to redressing Robert Kubica’s horrific 200mph shunt at the temporary street circuit, but all-in-all it was a very emotional weekend for BMW Sauber.
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen is hoping to build on the success that the team showed in Monaco; Robert Kubica’s sterling charge to second place contributing to the Hinwil based outfit’s impressive collection of silverware this season.
“We have very specific memories of the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix,” said the German. “Robert survived a horrific accident virtually without any injuries, while Nick finished second to give our team the best result up to that point. It was the most emotional weekend.”
“Canada is an important market for the BMW Group. Without the US Grand Prix, there’s unfortunately no North American double header this year. In Montreal we hope to build on our positive performance in Monaco.”