• Malaysian Grand Prix

KERS kept me ahead of Webber - Heidfeld

ESPNF1 Staff
April 10, 2011 « Button enjoys 'confusing' race | »
Nick Heidfeld: "I used my KERS in just the places where I needed to defend" © Getty Images

Nick Heidfeld said strategic use of his KERS helped him hold on to third place when he came under pressure from Mark Webber's Red Bull in the closing stages of the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Webber had the fastest car and was on fresher tyres, but his KERS had not been working since the start of the race, giving Heidfeld a crucial advantage.

"I had some good pace later on, especially with the prime tyres - it was similar to McLaren's probably. Then I had to defend from Mark who came flying by, but once he was behind his tyres started to degrade and I used my KERS in just the places where I needed to defend.

"My first podium for Lotus Renault, the second for the team this season, it's a great step for the team again."

He also pinpointed his fast start as a key factor in his race, after jumping from sixth to second on the run in to the first corner.

"The start was fantastic, good fun," said Heidfeld. "In Australia I made up many positions at the start, but I didn't expect the same starting from sixth, rather than 18th or whatever it was in Australia. I felt myself fighting with Sebastian who just watched me in the mirrors and paced himself to keep me behind. After that I did the best I could but Sebastian was quite a bit quicker."

He revealed that he had wanted to pit earlier, in line with Hamilton and race leader Sebastian Vettel, but his team told him to stay on track in case it rained and he had to pit again for wet tyres.

"In the first stint there were some drops coming down and I called the box to say tyres going off. They said 'stay out, there might be rain coming' and we didn't want to do an extra pit stop.