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It was a trouble-free race: Narain
March 06, 2005 13:33 IST
Last Updated: March 07, 2005 15:07 IST
Narain Karthikeyan, who finished 15th at the Australian Grand Prix, said he was happy with his performance in the Formula One debut race even though he had a "very bad" start on Sunday.
The Jordan driver, who started in 12th place, slipped to the 18th spot on his first lap at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne. But the 28-year-old said said he was glad to complete all the 57 laps in the race which saw three drivers including seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher failing to finish.
"I had a very bad start and then stayed behind [Jordan teammate Tiago] Monteiro for a while. After the first pit stop, I pushed a lot and it was a trouble-free race," Karthikeyan said after the race.
"It is very good to finish the first Grand Prix of the season and I am looking forward to the next race, even though the weather conditions will be much warmer and humid."
Trevor Carlin, Jordan's Sporting Director, said his team was not targetting to do even better in the next Grand Prix in Malaysia.
"We are very glad we finished the year's first Grand Prix. We got both cars to the finish and that is an achievement, even though it would have been nice to finish a bit higher up the results table," Carlin said.
"Now we are looking forward to going to Malaysia and if possible improving the car a little bit."
He finished 15th, one place ahead of fellow-Jordan rookie Tiago Monteiro of Portugal.
Karthikeyan can take heart from the fact that he ended the race fastest amongst the rookies.
Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella won the race, finishing the 57 laps of the 5.303-km circuit in 1 hour, 24 minutes, 17.336 seconds, 5.55 seconds. He was followed to the chequered flag by Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello and Renault's Fernando Alonso.
Defending champion Michael Schumacher of Ferrari failed to finish, crashing out with 15 laps remaining after starting on the back row of the grid.
Seven-time world champion Schumacher, who started 19th on the grid after rain wrecked his qualifying chances on Saturday, collided with BMW Williams' Nick Heidfeld.
Today's competition followed a new format that restricted the drivers to one engine for two races and one tire set-up per race.
Earlier, Karthikeyan, who had secured the ninth place in the first qualifying on Saturday, dropped three places in Sunday's qualifying despite coming up with a better timing at 1 minute 32.735, which was almost 12 seconds faster than his previous effort.
Formula One: The Complete Coverage