Heidfeld - Ferrari are in reach

German hoping to close the gap to world champions over coming weeks

BMW Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld reckons that, with the team having outpaced McLaren-Mercedes at the Bahrain Grand Prix, the gap to Ferrari is now closing fast.

Heidfeld finished a close fourth behind team-mate Robert Kubica at Sakhir, the Pole - who had taken both his and BMW Sauber's first pole position in qualifying - in turn shadowing the second-placed Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen at the chequered flag.

Both Kubica and Heidfeld came home within ten seconds of the race winner, Ferrari's Felipe Massa, with the German finishing 20 seconds ahead of McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen.

"We were faster than McLaren Mercedes," a confident Heidfeld told his website. "Only the Ferraris were superior to us, but also they are within reach."

The 30-year-old is hoping that BMW Sauber can further close the gap during next week's three-day test at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

"I am also pretty sure that during the next three weeks our teams in Hinwil and Munich will continue to improve our car," he continued.

Heidfeld also expressed pride at both the lead BMW Sauber currently have in the Constructors' Championship - the Swiss German outfit lead Ferrari by a point with McLaren a further point adrift - and his own second place behind Raikkonen in the Drivers' Championship.

He added: "I am second in the drivers standings now and I am really proud that my team is leading the Constructors' Championship."