Robert Kubica all but wrote off his slim world championship chances after he struggled in qualifying for today's Chinese Grand Prix. The BMW Sauber will line up 11th on the grid after he was hampered by heavy understeer. He was fortunate to make it through the first part of qualifying, but the Pole's luck ran out in the second part as he finished 12th. Although he was subseqently promoted one spot after Mark Webber's Red Bull was demoted down the order for an engine change, Kubica was still downbeat over his chances.
Trailing by 12 points, he needs to score at least three more points than Lewis Hamilton today to stay in the title hunt. He said: "I was struggling with the balance of the car all weekend. We made some changes before qualifying, but they had a negative effect. "The car was difficult to drive and I couldn't push. I expect a tough race because now we are not allowed to change the set up." Kubica's teammate Nick Heidfeld also had a frustrating day as he was given a three-place grid penalty for holding up David Coulthard's Red Bull in the first part of the qualifying session.
The German had qualified sixth, but will now start ninth because of the penalty which was given by race stewards. Despite his own disappointment, Heidfeld had sympathy for his teammate, saying: "I feel sorry for Robert [Kubica]," he said. "Apparently he struggled here and this grid position reduces his championship chances, but certainly we'll never give up." @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org