Heidfeld Takes the Quiet Approach

Germany's Nick Heidfeld, so low-key as to be almost invisible in the brash world of Formula One, put the Schumacher brothers in the shade on Sunday

Heidfeld Takes the Quiet Approach

While his fine run to third place in the Malaysian Grand Prix equalled the best result of his career, with Sauber in 2001, the Williams driver was not about to shout his delight from the rooftops.

"I don't drive in Formula One to be in the limelight, you know," he said when asked how it felt to beat his more illustrious compatriots. "I am quite happy to be in the shadow and finish on the podium."

That may be the case, but Ferrari's Michael Schumacher recognised an outstanding performance as did Heidfeld's own BMW-powered team.

"It was a classy performance from Nick, as well as from Ralf and Toyota," said the German, whose younger brother finished fifth after a battle with Heidfeld. Toyota also secured their first podium with Italian Jarno Trulli second.

"It was a super result for them, much better than anyone could have imagined. Especially for Nick. I'm happy for him," he told German television.

"We used to train together on a go-kart track and now he's driving circles around me," added Schumacher. "He had a super race and got a great position, his second third-place finish. I think he's going to show us all quite a bit more."

Sam Michael, the Williams technical director, also showed his appreciation.

"Nick proved himself to be a fantastic racer with all the overtaking he did without causing any incident," he said. "He drove the second fastest lap of the race and finished third coming from 10th."

Heidfeld, who was confirmed by Williams only at the end of January after winning a 'shoot-off' with Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia, revealed afterwards that he had driven in the sweltering heat with a faulty water bottle. Despite that, he battled Australian teammate Mark Webber and Ralf after passing both the Red Bulls on the opening lap.

Webber, running fourth, later went out after colliding with the third-placed Renault of Italian Giancarlo Fisichella. Their retirements opened Heidfeld's route to the podium.

"It was a fight between three cars and that made it even more difficult and more exciting," said the 27-year-old. "I just had to try and judge what was going to happen next and I just got the upper hand in the end."

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