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The Warsaw Voice » Society » June 11, 2008
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Kubica Wins, Leads F1 Pack
June 11, 2008 By W.¯.    
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Poland's 23-year-old Formula One driver Robert Kubica of the BMW Sauber team claimed his maiden Grand Prix victory at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit in Montreal, Canada, June 8, after less than two years in Formula One. With the win, Kubica wrested the F1 drivers' championship lead from British driver Lewis Hamilton of the McLaren team to move to the head of the pack.

Kubica's win was also BMW Sauber's first Grand Prix victory and a momentous one-two finish for the team as German driver Nick Heidfeld, Kubica's team colleague, came second, with Scotland's David Coulthard of Red Bull in third place.

Kubica started the race behind Hamilton, who had secured pole position. After 15 laps, Hamilton was over 4 seconds ahead of Kubica. Finland's Kimi Raikkonen, the F1 world champion, of Ferrari was third, losing three seconds to Kubica. But a while later Kubica took advantage of a pit-lane accident that took out McLaren's world championship leader Hamilton and world champion Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari. Hamilton crashed into the back of Raikkonen's car as they emerged from a pit stop on lap 18.

After he took the lead Kubica performed better with each lap, keeping his rivals at bay.

Kubica's win in Montreal is especially significant because a year ago the Polish driver suffered a serious accident at the circuit. Driving at around 230 kilometers per hour, he hit a concrete wall head on. His car flipped over and was completely destroyed. But the driver, who was immediately airlifted to a hospital in Montreal, suffered no major injury.

Kubica made his debut in F1 in the Hungary Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit in Budapest Aug. 6, 2006, as a BMW Sauber test driver replacing his teammate Jacques Villeneuve. Kubica was seventh in the race and three weeks later BMW Sauber signed a contract with him to become a regular driver. In his first year in Formula One, Kubica's greatest success was third place at Monza. In 2007, he was fourth in four races.

The start of the 2008 season was unlucky for Kubica. He failed to finish the Australia Grand Prix after Kazuki Nakajima of Japan crashed into his vehicle. But later, he performed excellently, coming second twice-in Malaysia and Monaco, and finishing third in Bahrain.

As a result of his win in Montreal, Kubica is leading the drivers' championship with 42 points, ahead of Hamilton and Spain's Felipe Massa of Ferrari, each with 38 points. Raikkonen is fourth, with 35 points, and Heidfeld is fifth, with 28 points.

BMW Sauber is now second among the teams, with 70 points, behind Ferrari, with 73, and ahead of McLaren, with 53.
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