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Heidfeld delighted with lucky pit call - Sathish - 04-06-2009

Nick Heidfeld has revealed that a last minute pit gamble was the key to his shock second place in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The BMW driver had been running quietly in the lower half of the top ten until the rain hit.

As others pitted up to four times to keep up with the changing levels of rain, Heidfeld stuck with his initial choice of wet tyres and vaulted up the order while his rivals scampered for the pits.

But Heidfeld admitted that he had come very close to changing his plan and taking intermediates, which would have dropped him right back again.

"I think it was a very difficult choice in these conditions," he said.

"It was not a perfect tyre choice - I went straight to extremes as normally it's heavy rainfall here.

"Then the team told me heavy rain was expected, and I told them inters would be a lot quicker now.

"Just as they told me to pit, it started to rain heavier.

"I was actually just 200 metres from the pit area and I said 'no, no, I'll stay out, it's starting to rain more heavily."

He said he had looked after his tyres just in case the rain took time to arrive in earnest.

"As I'd tried to preserve my tyres in the beginning, some other guys were quicker than me on the extreme wets, but I knew if the rain started then hopefully I could stay out," said Heidfeld.

"That worked, but still my rear tyres were destroyed completely and were basically slicks, and when it started to rain I just tried to stay on the circuit."

Heidfeld's team-mate Robert Kubica barely featured in the race as mechanical problems struck before his afternoon had begun.

“When I started on the formation lap, my engine produced strange noises and there was very little power," said the Pole.

"I started the race, which under the circumstances was not easy, and continued to drive.

"I asked my team what I should do, but before I got an answer the car caught fire and I stopped.”