So just how fast are BMW?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Robert Kubica, BMW, Melbourne, 2008, qualifying, 450150

The biggest surprise of qualifying for me was how quick the BMWs are. Robert Kubica was just 0.155s off Lewis Hamilton’s pole position time and Nick Heidfeld back him up in fifth with a 1’27.236.

During the discussion of qualifying here last night one or two people raised the possibility that the two drivers are on different strategies, and Robert Kubica ran with a light fuel load in a bid to take pole position. He seemed to confirm that, while acknowledging he would have been first but for a mistake:

Yeah. for sure I made a mistake in corner 12 over the grass, I lost more than a couple of tenths there. That is the risk we took, we knew we could get a good result in qualifying, I took quite a bit of risk, but in the end it didn’t pay off as I lost more than to stay ahead of Lewis.

So do BMW have the pace to challenge for the win? It didn’t look that way in practice on Friday but Kubica and Heidfeld topped the time sheets on Saturday morning.

But they might have been further down the grid had the Ferraris not run into trouble. And BMW did particularly well here last year as well – third and fifth was turned out to be their best qualifying performance of 2007.

Mario Theissen has said his aim for 2008 is for the team to take their first win. Could they achieve that in the first race – and even challenge for the championship?

More on Australian Grand Prix qualifying