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F1 NEWS 

Kubica calls on BMW to push for title

Robert Kubica, BMW, Japanese GP 2008Robert Kubica once again called for his BMW team to rally in the closing stages of the season and make a big push for the world title, after finishing second in the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Polish driver, who remains in title contention on 72 points - 12 behind world championship leader Lewis Hamilton, could have gone into the last two races of the year just a win away from the points lead, had he won at Fuji.

"This is much better than my Canada win with a car that is not the one from the beginning of the season," he said. "We didn't improve a lot in the last two months, so to finish second, to keep quite good pace in qualifying, it is amazing.

"Again qualifying is crucial, I was able to do a good result with the car I had and kept consistent pace, I finished second and this is a great result for team because it is a difficult moment. It is a good boost for us, we are still in the fight, so let's try."

Kubica blamed problems with tyre graining for his failure to contain a charging Fernando Alonso and secure a second victory of 2008, having led the race in the early stages.

But the 23-year-old explained that once the eventual race-winner had jumped ahead of him with an early stop at the beginning of the second stint, any chance of victory had gone.

"I didn't manage a good start, I had a slipping clutch in the initial phase so one of the Toyotas went by and I decided to go inside," said Kubica. "I braked really too late and if someone had taken the apex I would for sure have hit him but everyone went straight.

"I locked a lot the front wheel, but got out of corner one first.

"I was not able to pull away, Fernando kept the gap and I tried everything. But after the first stop when he was ahead of me, I had a lot of graining problems which influenced the last sector of the lap and he pulled more time out of the last corners."

Despite his tyre issues, Kubica managed to stave off a determined effort from Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen in the final stages of the race to secure his third second-place and his sixth podium finish of the season.

"In the last stint I had a great battle with Kimi, where I again had big graining," he said. "But then the tyres cleaned out and I managed to pull a comfortable gap of two seconds."

The scrap for second was the most engaging battle in the race and involved a side-by-side moment at one of Fuji's fastest corners that saw the world champion forced to run wide.

"There is no space to go two cars through there," said Kubica, "and I was on the inside and I just did not back off, he did not back off, and stayed on track.

"I knew I had to survive these laps, I did not know how long the graining would last and once tyres were able to clean up I was able to pull away."

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