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Kovalainen aims to go easier on himself

NEWS STORY
17/01/2009

Ahead of his third season in F1, his second with McLaren, Heikki Kovalainen has promised to be a little easier on himself, admitting that previously he was his own worst critic and thereby put unnecessary pressure on himself.

"I think I put too much expectation on myself," he admitted to reporters at yesterday's MP4-24 launch, "and sometimes I was too hard on myself if I didn't get pole position or win the race.

"Looking back, I think I had some really good races even compared to Lewis," he continued. "There were many, many positives but he obviously managed to score more points and also drove really well last year.

"I don't think I need to blame myself all the time," he added. "I want this year to be more enjoyable, more relaxed and if I have one session where I don't think I maximised everything I am not going to get stressed about it."

While there were a few 'iffy' performances, the Finn also suffered some bad luck, in addition, in the eyes of many, to being used as guinea pig, in terms of strategy, for his teammate.

That said, he had the same equipment as Hamilton, yet only won one race, claimed six less poles and forty-five less points. However, when asked if he will be able to give his teammate more of a run for his money this season, the Finn sounded confident.

"To finish seventh in the championship is obviously not something I was planning to do," he admitted. "But hopefully this year we can start the season and carry on in a better shape. The preparation has gone really well and I'm better prepared compared to this time last year and I know how the team operates.

"I think we have analysed a lot what happened last year and the last few races actually weren't that bad," he continued. "Even if the results might not show that, the race pace was actually very competitive. I felt at the end of last year that we were definitely improving and we were on the right track. Hopefully we can just keep that consistently good."

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