Heidfeld says he “couldn’t have done better”

2011 F1 testing

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Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Jerez, 2011

Nick Heidfeld was satisfied with his test for Renault in Valencia today in which he set the fastest lap of the day.

Speaking to reporters after the test he said: “Yes I’m very pleased. Not only with the position, because that depends on various factors, but I’m happy with the job I’ve done today. I think I couldn’t have done better.

“I did the best I could, I didn’t do any mistakes. I’ve already helped quite a bit to understand the car which at least over the day helped but this is something you’d have to ask Eric [Boullier].”

But he said he doesn’t know when he’ll find out if he’ll be racing for the team in 2011:

“I don’t know, I haven’t discussed it yet.

“My focus today was fully on this day and this was what mattered. It doesn’t help if you think ‘after this test will they tell me now or later?’ It’s just taking your concentration away.”

Heidfeld said his priority was getting used to the car and adapting it:

“The balance in the morning was, of course, bad, but it was the first time I’d sat in the car. The engineers did a good job in improving that.

“We didn’t have time to do so much in one day but the car is already very different to how it was this morning, suiting my driving style a lot more. It is still not ideal, from the feeling I have I hope there’s more to come. But it’s a good base.

“In the beginning it feels a bit like sitting on top of the car and something is happening and you really expect it and don’t exactly know how to react to it.

“Then if you drive more and more you feel more like you’re at one with the car. You already know what might happen next and know how to react, it just takes some time.

“I think we already started today, whether I drive or not, to try and improve the car and find out directions and where problems are, where strengths are.

“I’m obviously trying today to do the best job in order to drive in the future but I’m also just using it as normally and trying to develop the car.”

Despite setting the fastest time of the day Heidfeld isn’t reading too much into the lap times:

“I think does mean that the car is not shit! But not a lot more than that.

“I think any of the guys here, if you make the car empty and put very soft tyres on all day, anybody could be in front. But on the other side let’s say it’s not a bad sign.”

Heidfeld picked Red Bull as the team to beat this year after watching their car on track yesterday:

“I would definitely not put us, Lotus Renault, as favourites.

“For me it’s very clearly Red Bull that is the favourite. When I walked the track yesterday they looked again, as last year, very, very good.”

Heidfeld used KERS at BMW and said his experience of it was useful for Renault:

“I have some experience there and know how it can feel, should or shouldn’t feel and what we could try. I would not say it’s a big problem at the moment, it was working fine.

“There’s some fine-tuning but the base was good. It’s certainly better than at BMW when I used it in 2009 where I didn’t really like it.”

He also used the new Drag Reduction System today but has reservations over the rear wing device: “We’ve already said last year – most of the drivers and the GPDA – that it might be too much.

“And when you’re not in the car I also thought about it and you think “come on, it’s two buttons, it’s OK”, but when you drive with it, it’s really a lot of things to do at the same time.”

He added that his hands are not big enough to use all the car’s systems properly:

“What made it a bit more difficult is that I cannot reach all the paddles and levers that I should. My hands are as small as my body so I cannot reach all of the positions.

“So we might do some adjustments. It can be changed and if you do it more and more often you get used to it. But it’s not easy.”

Heidfeld described his surprise at potentially being in a position to race in F1 this year:

“It’s a bit unreal. I still have to try and realise it because a week ago, before Robert had his bad accident, it was something I didn’t even dream about – not Robert’s accident, but getting into the car.

“Of course you always hope but it was so unrealistic. And now I’m sitting here, having a good chance to do the season.”

Bruno Senna will drive the car tomorrow.

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    65 comments on “Heidfeld says he “couldn’t have done better””

    1. He will win a race if he gets a race seat. ;)

      1. Well he’s had years to try and has failed, don’t see how this year would be any different even if he is “Quick Nick.” :V

        1. not that he had a great car at hands!

          even the 2008 BMW wasn’t up there. Robert won a very weird race that year.

          1. Robert won a very weird race that year

            , after Heidfeld let him by.

            1. Hardly, but anyway

            2. @ Kirk

              Looks like formation flying to me.


            3. @bananarama

              Of course he let him by, that was never a secret. It was a strategic decision. Robert was on a two-stop strategy, and Nick was on a one stop strategy. Kubica was much lighter and faster at that point in the race. There was no need for additional risk and they both knew that. I still think it was a well deserved victory for Kubica.

        2. Well robert only has 1 win, and it’s off the back of a hamilton crash.
          He’s just as good as kubica.

          1. Robert is as good as Kubica? okay :D

      2. Come on Calum, we don’t really know if this Renault Lotus Sponsored by Russian Oil companies will be quick over a race distance yet.

        It’d be nice if he did get a race seat and win, but testing is testing, just testing the cars.

      3. No surprise! Nick is more then underestimated driver

        1. Nick beat Kubica in 2007 & 2009 in points. Yet the Kubica fanboys are all out in his defense because of 1 fluke win and a couple pole positions with an empty tank which lead to 5th places.

          Kubica hadn’t even passed anyone on track until singapore last year with the benefit of fresh tires against 40 lap tires on everyone else.

          basically, he is a another Felipa Massa.

          1. “basically, he is a another Felip(e) Massa.”

            I.e. someone who can remain in championship contention until the final corner of the season against someone regarded as one of the most naturally talented drivers in F1? In my books that must mean he’s pretty good!

          2. He’s not just another felipe Massa, come on now. Kubica is a very spectacular driver, more complete than Massa. Massa is great when he starts on pole and everything goes well for him. If things don’t go well, he’s nowhere. Kubica can pass, can drive great qualifying laps and consolidate in a race, just more complete and definetly in the top 5 of the drivers purely judged on their skill. I think Heidfeld is the better racedriver though, that guy just doesn’t make mistakes! No wonder he defeated so many amazing drivers in the course of his carreer, he doesn’t do DNF’s (untill Sutil crashes into him of course).

    2. i don’t think so,the renault was tested at it limits today. they ae probably doing qualifying runs in order to know what the car’s limits are and in order to know who will be faster between him and senna. so I think this is the fastest the renault might be able to go.

      1. That was no qualy run. It was quite comparable with what Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull were doing the last couple of days.

        Sure, they might have been a bit lower on fuel, when they set that lap, but hardly empty. There was at least another 8 laps worth in that car.

    3. he deserves the seat more than petrov

      1. agreed 100%!!! I really hope he gets it!

      2. I’d like to see Heidfeld and Senna to be honest.

        1. I personally, would like to see Heidfeld get the seat over Senna too, and he definitely deserves the seat more than Petrov.However, we shouldn’t jump to conclusions that early. We could see Bruno put in some stellar lap times as well tomorrow. Its unlikely, but not impossible

        2. Agreed!` Drop Petrov and try Senna.

          1. I hope Heidfeld gets it as well, it should have been him alongside Kubica in Renault last year anyway. I kept thinking Boullier was mad not to just take the BMW Sauber duo and keep them together. They were the most consistent duo in F1 for a couple years, sure the Massa-Kimi pairing and the Hamilton-Alonso pairing scored more points, but in much better cars.

        3. If and when Kubica returns, he and Heidfeld together again in what may be a competitive Renault would be a strong pairing. I’d like to see that.

    4. Lets hope this turns into a race seat for Heidfeld.

    5. Most interesting interview with Heidfeld:
      Especially I noted:
      “For me it’s very clearly Red Bull that is the favourite. When I walked the track yesterday they looked again, as last year, very, very good.”
      And then he gave a lot of interesting info on KERS, the rear wing etc. etc.
      A difficult day tomorrow for Senna…

    6. Agreed he is probably the best man for the job but I can’t help getting a little excited about a set of Senna eyes staring out of a yellow helmet in a JPS coloured car. Sorry!!!

      1. Yeah, a quarter century later. Wow.

      2. If you want to see that also, all we need is Petrov coming with a bad flue for a weekend.
        Then everyone will be pleased.

    7. Senna is not even in contintion for the seat, Renault have said they want somebody with experience. The reason why Senna is driving on Sunday is because Renault need their 3rd driver to have experience with the Pirelli tyres, KERS and the adjustable rear wing, not to compare him and Heidfeld which is a shame because I think Senna deserves a chance in a decent car to show what he can do, Heidfeld has had plenty of chances and done nothing.

      1. Yeah, Nick’s only beaten Kubica 2/3 times the full years that they were teammates at BMW Sauber.

        Seriously, the naysayers don’t know much about who they’re criticizing!

        1. True Shiro, all are blinded by the name “Senna” even if this one is just 1/4 of the real Senna.

        2. @Shiro

          I love Nick and I always rooted for him. I hope he will get the seat, but sometimes… sometimes when I hear his fanboys I’m just feeling sick.

          In 56 GP’s that he and Kubica raced together Robert accumulated 136 points and Nick 146. Robert was faster in qualifying 29 times, Nick 27 times. Kubica held higher position in the race 26 times and 30 times it was Nick. Now take into account that Robert had 5 DNF’s due to technical issues and 1 DNF due to Nakajima driving into him. During that time Nick had only 3 DNF’s due to mechanical failures. That’s what you get from looking at pure stats. The most you can get from that is that they were evenly matched, which I happen to agree with, more or less.

          Now if you step away from the dry numbers and actually watch the races, you will see that Nick was indeed quick and consistent, but Kubica was racing his heart out. Right from the get go, even as a rookie he was brilliant. Robert was pretty unlucky quite a few times too, losing position due to events independent of him.

          They are both good drivers, and they are pretty close in their skill, but Robert was a bit better, to say the least. If you think otherwise, it’s your opinion and of course you’re entitled to it… but honestly, I don’t know where you are getting that impression from.

          Anyway, this turned into quite a rant, which I didn’t intend. I still like them both, and they both deserve to stay in F1 for many years to come.

          1. I agree Maroon, I suppose I would say I’m a ‘fan’ of Heidfeld, but not so much that I get blinded by it.

            I think Heidfeld did a great job to match Kubica who I think it’s fair to say has more natural talent, and he certainly deserves to be in F1 still.

            Saving myself from making another post, I think the Renault will probably be fighting the Mercedes guys again this year, with the top three from last year remaining the same.

            1. I agree. Nick deserves a drive more than half of those guys on the grid. Hope Renult realize that..

          2. I much more a fan of Kubica tha a rather nondescript impression I’ve got from Nick in the past. Apart from his tiny hands syndrome, he’s as good as anybody to stand in. His feedback from the article above is clearly articulate, he’s experienced and level headed. If the car is as good as everyone hopes it will be, then it will be the deciding factor and Nick needs to be consistent with it.

            So, apart from small hands, he’s a great stand in.

        3. LOL
          obviously nick was favourized in bwm by dr mario
          and let see how it was in past between them. first year, nothing to talk about.
          2007 heidfeld beat kubica
          2008 kubica had a lot of chance to finish in top3 or to fight for titles, but team gave up on him and concentrated on heifeld
          2009 kubica had a chance even to win, but hey, there was vettel to knock him out… and somehow kubica had better results in 2009 until last race, 2nd sting when all of sudden they put in his car tyres with lower pressure which allowed heidfeld to overtake kubica as well is race as in standings
          and then 2010 where is heidfeld without bmw? omfg nowhere as he proved to be unable to win and best times for him are past.
          but surely as a replacement and help for the team he is the best available option on the market, far better than rubbish delarosa, hovewer i’d like 2c senna and nick, probably heidlefd got beaten at the end of that story.

          1. @steco

            Wow. I see that Robert also has crazy, conspiracy-theorist fanboys… Hello, reality check! There wasn’t a single real sign of conspiracy against Robert or favoritism towards Nick in the BMW Sauber Team. The only source of these rumors are people like you. People who know nothing about what’s going on, but spout their rhetoric regardless.

            The fact is that they were both good drivers, although Robert was a little more unlucky. There were some mistakes within the team, but to jump from that to a conspiracy is just plain ridiculous, borderline insane.

            Or maybe it’s just sad…

    8. I think if they sign quick nick, podiums are guaranteed and if they’ve made a step forward from last year I can see this as being the year he bagged in first victory.

      1. Agree completely. Its just a gut feeling that if Renault can battle for podiums, then Heidfeld will finally get a little lucky and snatch a win. It would be a great moment in the sport if it actually happens.

        1. Yes, for the guy with the most second places ever, 8, with having no victories thus far it would be a sweet sight to see.

    9. well , I wouldn’t wright Nick off yet , sometimes you have everything : talent , speed , good team , excellent car but there is something missing and none knows what it is , maybe this time the wright magical ingredient will be present and we will see something extraordinary happen?

    10. *right (sorry no edit button)

    11. perhaps god wants to give us an early sign

    12. Heidfield set his time on the second lap of a ten lap run.Alonso set his time on a three lap run.
      So Heidfield was definitely no doing qualifying simulation.All of the lap times and the laps they were set on is readily available so your remarks are not true.

    13. Heidfeld is the most under rated F1 driver of recent history, he’s done a solid job with the equipment at his disposal – and with a little luck could have achieved a lot more. He’s not the glamour choice but I’m an F1 fan not a glitz fan. Give Nick another chance, he deserves it!!!

      1. True, and we should not forget he has experience testing the Pirelli tyres.

        I just wished people stopped talking him down :(

      2. Yep. So underrated. One of my fave drivers, hope he gets the drive, and finally gets a decent car to race.

      3. I agree. Kubica only race win could so easily have been Heidfeld’s. BMW split their strategy to make sure one of their drivers would take the race win when the leaders faltered in that race. Luck was on Kubica’s side that day however.

    14. One thing he mustn’t do is shave off the beard. Bad luck to do that, now things are going well.

      I agree with most that Heidfeld is an extremely underestimated driver.

    15. In my opinion the day tomorrow will be great for Bruno if he beats Petrov.Doing better than Nick Heidfeld is a bit impossible but who knows..

    16. Just my thoughts @MaroonJack, hope Heidfeld will get this seat since F1 already lost with RK out for some time. I want watch Nick instead of another rookie crushing his car every two races.

    17. Even if he’s the most over-rated fanboy favourite ever (not my opinion, by the way)…damn, I still want to see him win. It would just be the best moment ever. Apart from Alonso having to move over for Massa.

      1. +1 to both parts of your comment.

      2. don’t like your comment.alonso is thebest driver ou there like itor not!

      3. Icthyes, you have just earned my upmost respect and friendship!

        I agree with you on both of those sentiments, I’d love to see Massa win this season (which he pretty much has too)

        and I would love to see Nick finally get a win

    18. I’d also really like to see Quick Nick in the car. While I wouldn’t say I’m a ‘fan’ of his, there is something about his understated approach that appeals to me. Or is it just the facial hair?

      1. You just know it’s the facial hair! LOL

        Seriously though, Heidfeld is just one of those unassuming characters that can pull a rabbit out of the hat when the opportunity arises (a rabbit with a beard, that is).

    19. He should get his chance so let him test for the remaining of the testing season then have him in the car for the first quarter of the season then see whether he improves or not.

    20. If he gets a drive, he will be outscored by Vitaly.

      1. LOL
        then he gets permanently on wall of shame of F1 :D
        I hope Bruno will beat ‘zee german’ which has so many years, so many chances to prove himself and he didnt, and blind peolpe still saying he is underestimated. he is just rubbish

    21. Let’s just hope that Nick doesn’t let the little things get to him and he continues to bond with the car. If he wants to chase the championship, he needs to step up. There is a fine line between thinking realistically and having excuses.

    22. I think people should accept that Heidfeld and Petrov are going to be the race drivers this year. If Senna was so much better, and more lucrative sponsor-wise than Petrov, then when Renault would’ve announced Senna as the 2nd driver at the car launch, not reserve.

      The decision of Petrov v Senna was already made.

      As for whether Heidfeld deserve a seat, that’s been comprehensively demonstrated by his rather impressive performance in testing so far.

    23. Been a huge fan of Heidfeld’s for the longest time. He deserves this racing seat more than anyone at the current time.

      The idea of replacing an experience driver with a rookie and pair senna with the russian money bag would be a bad idea for renault… esp with such a promising car and all the hu ha with the “other” lotus Team, this renault team needs results, and Heidfeld is the best choice at the moment.

    24. Watch out for fireworks as i cannot see ‘young’ Seb letting this upstart Nick H get the better of him. As young Seb will tell us all, he really is the best driver around ?

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