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Malaysia GP: Post-Race Press Conference

NEWS STORY
19/03/2006

Giancarlo, great scenes on the podium there with your race engineer, it looked like a perfect race from pole position.
Giancarlo Fisichella: Yeah, perfect race, it was a tough race, physically and mentally but honestly, I was quite confident, quite comfortable. The car balance was just fantastic, a little bit of graining after the pit stop but apart from that it was great. It was great to have my engineer on the podium there and I would like to thank all the Renault Formula One team. Guys!

And an emotional weekend for you too.
GF: Yeah, emotional weekend. It was important for me to do my best because I lost a friend of mine a week ago, and I would like to dedicate that race to him. Ciao Pietro.

I've got to ask you about the conditions, incredible heat out there, what was it like in the cockpit?
GF: It was really hot, very very hot, already in the middle of the race I felt tired and I wouldn't say I couldn't go through to the end of the race, but it's important to concentrate and just keep pushing and not lose concentration.

Fernando, it says a lot about your drive from seventh place that Renault led every lap of the race but one. A great start, a fight with Mark Webber in the early stages, and then passing Jenson in the closing stages.
Fernando Alonso: Yeah, it was good. At the start, we tried to overtake people in the first corner. I really braked very late on the outside, I took a risk but it was my only opportunity to overtake. I was very heavy on fuel so it was impossible on the track, I could only defend my position like I did with Webber and from there on, I think the race was easier. Unfortunately we had this little problem yesterday in qualifying and it was impossible to be close to pole position.

But the car was very good today, with both heavy and light fuel loads.
FA: Yeah, it has always been good here in Sepang, this year too. I think it will be competitive everywhere and for me it's a perfect start to the championship. Eighteen points in two races is what I dreamed of before Bahrain and I will try and win again in Australia and finish this first part of the championship away from Europe in the best way possible.

Jenson, twelfth straight finish in the points; reliable and third place but the Renaults were hard to beat, obviously.
Jenson Button: Very. There was no point in the race, really, where we could have gone any quicker. The only problem we had was Scott Speed, who held me up for a few laps and Fernando was able to jump me at the start, but apart from that, there was nothing else there. That was the maximum I could get out of the car. I was on the limit on every lap, and that's the way it is at the moment. It's good to get on the podium in the second race of the year and I am joint second or third in the championship now so it's not too bad but we've got a bit of work to do.

What areas, particularly, do Renault have the advantage over you at the moment, do you think?
JB: It's very difficult to say. He pulled away so quickly on the first lap, I couldn't see! But when I get back I will watch the race and I will be able to find out where the places are. But I've got to say thanks to everyone in the team, Honda Racing. It's been a tough weekend for us, Friday was very very difficult but yesterday was a good day and to get a podium today was good but there's still a lot of hard work needed to catch these guys.

Giancarlo, it's been a hectic start to the 2006 season but a much better one for you now.
GF: Yes, it's the opposite of last year. I'm just looking forward now. I'm really comfortable in the team. There's a nice atmosphere, fantastic potential with the car and with the team and I'm really looking forward to this year.

Press Conference

Giancarlo, it looked as thought it was a faultless run.
GF: Yes, a great day - fantastic - for Renault, one-two. It was the target for this weekend, but it was difficult because all the other people were really close to us. But I had a fantastic qualifying session yesterday, the car balance was fantastic in the qualifying session and in the race today. We had a small problem with tyre graining after a couple of laps after the pit stop, but apart from that, there was a great balance, great behaviour, I was very comfortable.

Was it a worry that you knew Fernando was going to go longer?
GF: I was talking with my engineer about Fernando's pace and we were on target so I was confident. I was pushing but not going over the limit and I never made a mistake. And that's great, a great day for me.

Obviously you now go to Australia where you won last year. Tell us about that and your feelings going there this year?
GF: It's a great feeling. It was the first race of the season last year. It was fantastic for me and then the bad luck came through the rest of the season. This year I had bad luck in the first race and I have won the first race afterwards, so I hope I had all the bad luck in Bahrain. Now I just want to keep going, score a lot of points for me and for the team.

Is Australia a race you would call one of your favourites because you won there?
GF: It's not my favourite track but I've got fantastic memories and I feel comfortable there. We can do well there. The package is really good, the potential is there so we can fight for a win in Australia.

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