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Malaysian GP: Friday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
22/03/2013

Friday's press conference with Bob Bell (Mercedes), Cyril Abiteboul (Caterham), Robert Fearnley (Force India), Sam Michael, (McLaren), James Allison (Lotus) and Pat Fry (Ferrari).

James, can we start with you? A great win for you and the team to start the year off in cold conditions in Melbourne and from what we saw this afternoon can we conclude that you're pretty quick in the heat as well?
James Allison: The weekend will tell but it's been a good day so far and the car seems quite happy here.

Is there any circuit that you fear from here?
JA: All of them! You just take them one at a time. It would be good to come away from here, if we can, competitive. So I think doing well in cold and doing well in hot would be good.

Will you able to maintain that development throughout the 2013 season against your main rivals?
JA: I think our team has got a reasonable history of keeping up with, and sometimes exceeding the general development race that happens during the season.

Can you say anything about the way Kimi Raikkonen drove in Melbourne. There seems to be a surge of confidence really. He's gone up a level has he, since last year?
JA: He's certainly very, very relaxed and confident this year. He drove the race incredibly patiently. I think he knew he had a good car under him. He knew he didn't have to scamper up behind the group in front and he looked after the tyres, only going quickly when he needed to. It was just a very mature and smooth, fast race.

Bob Bell, last year the Mercedes was very good in cold conditions, perhaps less good at places like this. Have you addressed that with this car?
Bob Bell: Yes, I think we very much hope we have. We put a lot of effort in over the winter to really understand what the issues with last year's car were. We had a pretty reasonable winter test in cold conditions. Of course Melbourne, as you said, was cold as well. We'll see when we come away from here whether we've actually got on top of those issues. I think we're pretty upbeat, pretty confident we've achieved that.

What differences have you noticed in the way you're operating as a team with the arrival of Lewis Hamilton?
BB: Lewis, no question, is a new dynamic for us and that always happens with the introduction of a new driver, particularly one as competitive as Lewis is, so he's a real motivational force in the team and indeed for his own team-mate. I think he's lifted all of our game. He's driving us; he's clear about what he wants, what direction he wants to go in, and that is sympathetic to where we were going anyway, so I think it's going very well.

What effect do you see he's had on his team-mate Nico Rosberg?
BB: Team-mates naturally always want to outdo each other, so if you bring a new one in, if that raises his game then I think his team-mate will try and follow suit. It's perfectly natural healthy competition.

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