Write Better English - Day 4

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At first glance, you might think that Nick Heidfeld has had a subdued start to the season. But is there more to come from the German? Adam Cooper spoke to him to find out.

BMW Sauber has long made its mission clear - the team wants to win its first race in 2008, and with podiums, a pole and fastest lap already in the pocket, such an eventuality cannot be discounted.

There is certainly a feeling in the team that Monaco is a race where it just might happen, if everything falls into place. Whether it's next weekend or a little further down the line, Nick Heidfeld wouldn't mind being the man to claim the maiden victory. But he has other ambitions too.

"Of course, the first win would be great, but I hope more to have a good result in the championship," he says.

"It's hard to say what I would be happy with at the end of the season. Our target is to fight for the championship next year, but you never know what happens, maybe we can find something big, something great, and we can fight with Ferrari ..."

It's been something of a mixed year thus far for the German. He's got his hand on the best package he's ever had in a career that is now in its ninth season. He's already had a second place and a fastest lap, and along with Lewis Hamilton he is one of only two drivers to have seen the chequered flag at all five races, although both men have had an expensive finish outside the points.

And yet for the most part he has been overshadowed by Robert Kubica, the team-mate he shaded last season. It is inevitable perhaps, given that the Pole is from the Hamilton generation, a great white hope for the future who arrived at the top with a bang, and Heidfeld is saddled with the baggage of having driven some very average cars over the years.

It is easy to get the impression that things are beginning to slip away from Nick, as Kubica continues to shine.

"I think I am still OK," he says. "I think Robert is doing a great job at the moment. I think he's getting on with the car better than he did last year. It will be a tougher season for me, that's why it looks like at the moment. I will keep working hard."

During the winter it looked as though it might be a tough season for all at BMW, since in its initial guise the F1.08 did not set the world alight. With so many teams apparently making progress, it seemed that BMW would not only lose tough with Ferrari and Mclaren, but be overtaken.

However, progress during testing was surprisingly rapid, although no one knew how much gain has been made until Melbourne.

"It was really extremely difficult in the beginning, and then we improved the car relatively quickly," he says.

"When I was driving, it seemed to be too slow. We made big chunks [of time], but we were still behind. We changed some things on the set-up which helped, we changed a couple of things on the aerodynamic side and also something on the mechanical side."

Excerpt from Autosports Weekly Journal: Slow Burn: Interview with Nick Heidfeld