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Malaysian GP - Post-Race Press Conference

NEWS STORY
20/03/2005

Q: Fernando, it looked today as if you had to win two races; one against your opposition, and another against the conditions out there…
Fernando Alonso: Yeah, they were very tough conditions, as we knew before the start of the race. Unfortunately the drink bottle didn’t work, so half the race I had problems and I finished on the limit.

Q: The car looked faultless over that distance, but what was it like in the cockpit?
FA: It was OK. I saved the tyres a little bit at the beginning, thinking that maybe the first stint was maybe the most risky time for the rear tyres and then after that I saw that Jarno was slowing down a little bit so I slowed down as well, to save my tyres more, and the last stint was just low revs and saving tyres again. I wasn't pushing really hard in any part of the race. But the car was very easy to drive and really easy.

Q: Those last closing laps in this heat must have seemed very long...
FA: Not only the last, the last 15 or 20 laps were very long and the same for everybody here in Sepang, or maybe more if you are in P1. You are very close to winning the race, it's the second race for the engine and for the car and you are a little bit worried, obviously, but everything was perfect and the team again showed that we are the team to beat.

Q: Jarno, congratulations to you too: the first-ever podium finish for the Panasonic Toyota team. You tried to hold onto Fernando there in the opening laps. Tell us about that and then as the race progressed…
Jarno Trulli: I had an extremely good start but again the Renaults seem to get away pretty well. Anyway, I drove my race, I was quite competitive, I was following Fernando, but at one stage I could see that there was no match and I started managing the race, taking care of the tyres as during the first race I had the tyre problem, and then I just managed to finish the race. It was really easy in second position, pulling away, controlling people. From the pit they kept telling me to slow down so it's fantastic to bring the first podium finish to Toyota.

Q: In these conditions, even more so, using the engine for two Grands Prix, the tyres for the full distance, how near to the limit were you towards the end?
JT: Let's say that we were quite comfortable on reliability, even if, in these conditions, it's always terrible (fantastic) what Marmorini has done and his crew has done a fantastic job over the wintertime, the reliability is there. But after half race I started pulling down the revs and trying to slow down and taking care of the tyres and also the heat was really hard on the driver's side, and for this I have to thank (Doctor) Ciccarelli because he treated me with an infusion as I was sick at the beginning of this week.

Q: Nick, you've been quick all weekend but tenth on the grid up to third place is fabulous and you don't actually look that sweaty or hot!
Nick Heidfeld: No, it was very hot, and as usual in hot races, as Fernando just said, my drink bottle also failed. It always happens at the places where you don't want it to happen, from the beginning onwards. Other than those two guys, I had to push very hard, as I was only tenth in qualifying, because I made a mistake in second qualifying and I thought that cost me the race. But I had a very good start and some good overtaking maneuvers.

Q: And an interesting race from your point of view: you were racing there with Ralf Schumacher and later on you were right behind Mark Webber and Giancarlo Fisichella.
NH: Yes, I was with two other cars at a lot of the stages of the race, so it was not like one on one. There were two people fighting in front of me and then the third car getting involved. It was very complex, but very interesting, and I got the upper hand.

Q: And the car, the tyres, the engine?
NH: Obviously everything was really good. In the end, as normal, we tried to save the engine a bit, pushed really hard in the middle stint. In the end, the last ten laps, I was just controlling the pace to Montoya.

Q: Fernando, we return to you as the first Spaniard ever to lead the FIA Formula One World Championship and Renault looking very dominant. Your thoughts about the upcoming races…
FA: It will be more difficult for us, because we are starting in a very strong position but we saw this weekend that Toyota, Williams and always McLaren and Ferrari are very strong and the competition is tough now. Bahrain was not a perfect place for us last year, so I think we will suffer a little bit, and then when we arrive in Europe I think it will also be tough because it has always been good for the other teams. But this year everything seems different. Renault is always good on any type of circuit and I'm totally confident that in Bahrain we will be the reference again.

PRESS CONFERENCE

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