A lightning start saw Renault's Jarno Trulli jump four places from ninth on the grid, but his realistic hopes had been damaged even before the first corner... "All in all, it was a puzzling start to the weekend: obviously, under the new rules,...
A lightning start saw Renault's Jarno Trulli jump four places from ninth on the grid, but his realistic hopes had been damaged even before the first corner...
"All in all, it was a puzzling start to the weekend: obviously, under the new rules, Friday is all about choosing tyres and limiting your engine mileage, so we spent Wednesday and Thursday preparing our programme in detail, walking the circuit and planning carefully what we wanted to get out of the session."
"We decided to run plenty of laps in order to get the car set-up properly: I completed ten in the first session, and twenty three in the second when the track had cleaned up a little bit. Straight away things felt good: the engine was strong -- even though we were running quite cautiously with reliability in mind -- and the car was nice to drive, well balanced."
"We made good progress during the two hours, chose the tyres with a view to the weather for the weekend ahead, and I ended up setting third fastest time -- although, of course, we didn't know what fuel loads anybody else was running. It was particularly encouraging to see our pace on long runs was close to Ferrari."
"Trouble-free running continued on Saturday: with just one and a half hours of practice available, we concentrated on improving the chassis balance on our tyre compound and testing some cooling options. The field was closer than the day before, so I finished ninth and seventh in the two sessions -- not too bad, but a little further down from where we should have been."
"I had been looking forward to the new qualifying session, and finding out what it was like: I enjoy the single lap format and thought it would be good fun. We decided to run with a similar fuel load in first qualifying to second, and the most important thing was to be cautious and make no mistakes. I was out early -- my fault for finishing too well in Japan last year! -- and took it a bit easy in the first session. The result was that I finished 17th, and although it didn't matter too much, I would have liked to be a bit higher up."
"For the second session, I did a clean lap: no mistakes, and I was pretty happy at the end. However, I was a little slow through sectors two and three, and the result was ninth: not what we had hoped for but still, we knew the car would be better in race trim than on a single lap, and we were confident of a good start."
"When the lights went out, I got a fantastic start and immediately went past Webber, Sato and Ralf. I saw Fernando going on the grass, then squeezing Montoya on the right hand side, so tried going down the outside just as Fernando moved back across for the corner. I braked hard to avoid a collision and locked up the tyres. I think the cars behind me had to lock up as well, and somebody hit the back of the car. I went past Montoya as well, and was running fifth at the end of the first lap, but already the car wasn't feeling quite right: there was less overall grip than usual, and I just couldn't find the speed I wanted."
"Montoya was soon pushing me hard and we had a good battle before he finally got past into Turn 13. After that it was just a question of pushing as hard as possible and trying to keep a good pace, but it was really frustrating not to be able to push as I had wanted to. Still, we got two points and finished ahead of where we qualified, but Fernando showed what the car was capable of if I had felt completely comfortable with it."
"Malaysia's up next, and that should be even better for us: we're staying out in the Far East to train in similar conditions, so see you next week!"