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Narain relaxed before Sepang drive
March 19, 2005 21:39 IST
India's first Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan said he did not feel pressure to perform and was relaxed coming into the second leg of the F1 Grand Prix at Malaysia.
"I do not feel as much under pressure in Sepang than in Melbourne. There was a lot of expectations for me to perform in the first ever race, the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. Now that has passed. I feel more relaxed coming into this Malaysian race," Karthikeyan said after finishing 17th in the first qualifying on Saturday.
The 28-year-old Jordan driver said he drove according to the requirement of the difficult Sepang circuit and the changed rules regarding usage of tyres was on his mind.
"I finished 17th with 1:37.806 for the qualifying session because I drove quite a conservative lap as we are trying to save the Bridgestone tyres for tomorrow as much as possible.
"It is important as the heat here is hard on the tyres during the race. Overall, the tyres were working pretty well this afternoon and that helped of course the performance of the car."
The final grid position would be decided after the second qualifying tomorrow morning before the start of the final race later in the afternoon.
"I had a hot second morning to prepare the qualifying session. I did experience a lot of oversteer with the car that caused my car to be more on the outside of the course that I would have wished to. I lost a couple of tenths of a second in the middle section turns of the lap," Karthikeyan said.
"Overall, the balance was fine, but we just weren't fast enough. It was not the best lap I could have done on this circuit but it was ok in the end and I am ahead of my team mate."
Karthikeyan and his teammate Tiago Monteiro were reasonably satisfied with their provisional qualifying laps and looking forward to the race, despite the fact that hotter temperatures were expected on Sunday.
Karthikeyan said he knew that the Malaysian grand Prix would be hot, but did not expect such high temperatures in Sepang.
In the morning, the track temperatures went up to 41 degrees.
The Indian continued to fine-tune his car to the demands of the Sepang International Circuit.
"It is quite important to be prepared for tomorrow's session especially because I am not too familiar with this track where I have never driven before," Karthikeyan said.
"I hope that our cars will remain consistent in the race, so I am optimistic for a finish in Sunday afternoon's race and I have an equal good feeling about tomorrow's qualifying."
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