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Page last updated at 16:36 GMT, Sunday, 20 July 2008 17:36 UK

Piquet pleased by 'lucky' podium

Nelson Piquet
Piquet's father Nelson Piquet won the German GP in 1981, 86 and 87

Nelson Piquet admitted he was lucky to capture his maiden podium finish with second place at the German Grand Prix.

The Renault driver's one-stop strategy paid off as he pitted just before a safety car period which promoted him up the field as the leaders pitted.

"We had a bit of a gamble between one or two stops but it was the perfect strategy," said the Brazilian.

"But we got lucky with the safety car rules and in the end I was able to maintain my pace. I am very happy."

Piquet had qualified a distant 17th but the team's race tactics worked brilliantly, thanks to the timing of Timo Glock's crash which saw the safety car emerge to slow down the field while the debris was cleared up.

When the other drivers hurried back to the pits to take on more fuel and tyres, Piquet was able to stay out and eventually take the lead with 13 laps to go.

The Brazilian was ultimately passed by Lewis Hamilton's McLaren and he believes his decision not to challenge the Englishman was the right one.

"I started from the back and I thought that was how I'd finish my weekend," Piquet said.

"But then we became quite lucky and the team make a good decision by pulling me in at the right time.


"After the safety car I knew I just had to keep my pace, and I knew I mustn't push my tyres too hard in the beginning as I had to keep them until the end.

"When I was leading, I knew Lewis would come by quickly but I knew Felipe [Massa] wasn't that much quicker than me.

"If I'd taken too many risks Felipe might have overtaken me. So I decided I had to save second place rather than end up in third or fourth and not be so happy."

Piquet's performance in Hockenheim was not only a boost to Renault, earning them their first podium since the Japan Grand Prix last September, but will also provide a lift to his flagging reputation.

The Brazilian, son of three-time world champion Nelson Piquet, has had a difficult rookie season for Renault, scoring just two points at Magny-Cours and generally being comprehensively outpaced by leader driver Fernando Alonso.

Renault team boss Flavio Briatore, who watched the double world champion finish down in 11th, was quick to praise Piquet, who celebrates his 23rd birthday on Friday.

"Nelson had an amazing race," Briatore said.

"He proved to be very fast towards the end of the race and was able to remain strong under enormous pressure.

"I am delighted for him and for the team, who really deserve this result."

see also
Hamilton fights back for victory
20 Jul 08 |  Formula One
As it happened: German GP
20 Jul 08 |  Formula One
German GP photos
20 Jul 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton clinches German GP pole
19 Jul 08 |  Formula One
Alonso opts for return to Renault
10 Dec 07 |  Formula One
Piquet set for Renault test debut
15 Sep 06 |  Formula One

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