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15 - 17 March News  
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17-Mar: At the post Race press conference for the Malaysian Grand Prix, Ralf Schumacher described his race as 'almost perfect' and said "It was almost a perfect race. But the team did a fantastic job, the car was just there, almost perfect the whole race, especially the second stint where there was even more rubber on the circuit. It was just an easy game. I was amazed at how quick the car was today. I still can't believe it to be honest. It's all down to the team, I must say."
Ralf admitted to being lucky today with both Juan Pablo and Michael losing places after their first corner incident and said "I was six-tenths slower than Juan, and just didn't get it right in qualifying. Today, I was certainly a bit lucky with the two running into each other, but the car was simply perfect, the times were there and I could control it from there. I was slightly slower than Rubens on a two stop, which is perfect."
Ralf believed the penalty given to Juan Pablo wasn't fair and said "I think it was a normal racing incident and it was not fair to give him a penalty."

Juan Pablo Montoya was furious at the decision to penalise him as he didn't think he did anything wrong and said "We had to go around the outside of Michael because he moved to the right. We got to the corner. I gave him enough room. I talked to him already and he said he had quite a bit of under-steer. He touched me and that was it. To me it was a race incident. I was a bit pissed off because I thought he under-steered off into me, which is why I went like that to him, but that was it. It was a bit frustrating because the car was very good. I did the fastest lap of the race. 
I think that after what happened at the first race they went a bit extreme and I had to take it. The stewards had everyone saying 'they should have done something' and they didn't' in Australia."
Juan Pablo won't be surprised if he and Michael come together again in the future and  said "We were racing and accidents will happen. That was the first one and it probably won't be the last."

Michael Schumacher described his view on the first corner incident and said "You can see it from two ways. Obviously, if he had opened up more, we wouldn't have touched, but wasn't willing to do this so there wasn't any room for me and we touched. I didn't see a drama in that. It was a shame. I lost my front wing and had to come in for a pit stop and obviously lost a lot of time on that lap, plus the pit stop. But it was an exciting race in the end."
As for the penalty that Juan Pablo had, Michael believed it was harsh and said "To be honest, yes. I think we've seen far more extreme situations where nothing has happened, and today, a little touch and something was done. We don't seem to have a very consistent situation. That's something we may all want to improve in future."

17-Mar: What the teams and drivers said following the Race in Malaysia ... Report

17-Mar: Malaysian GP Race: Ralf Schumacher wins ahead of team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya and Michael Schumacher. Jenson Button, Nick Heidfeld and Felipe Massa make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Report ... Notes

17-Mar: Malaysian GP Warm-up Session: Rubens Barrichello sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard. Jarno Trulli, Nick Heidfeld and Jenson Button make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Report ... Notes

16-Mar: At the post Qualifying press conference for the Malaysian Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher was surprised that the pole time was actually slower than last year's and said "I don't know that it's so good when you imagine how much money everybody has invested to go faster and then we go a little bit slower from one year to another. I can only explain it by (saying) the circuit asphalt may be being less rough, or something like that. There is no other decent explanation than that."
Michael expects a close fight but is aiming for another win and said "Everybody was feeling bored after Australia and thinking it's going to be an easy season and you see what's going to happen: things are tight and we're going to have an interesting race tomorrow. The weather conditions are going to be a big factor, and there's a possibility of showers, as we had last year, and in these circumstances, it's very unpredictable, honestly. Our aim is clear. We want to be finishing the race as high as we can. Whether we're going to do it ? There's a couple of cars behind us that want to change that."

Juan Pablo Montoya was frustrated at losing pole given that he would have grabbed pole if he added his fastest sectors in the different runs and said "It's a bit frustrating. The car was really good, I was especially losing time in the last sector. In the first two sectors, I thought it was good and really put the third sector together, and it was a matter of putting it all together. The first sector wasn't very quick, just over a tenth off. I tried a bit harder in the second sector, but I made a little mistake, but that was it. I aborted the lap."
As for how they have managed to turn the car around and make it competitive, Juan Pablo said "On my car we changed just everything. We tried everything from springs, bars, you mention it. My car was specially good in sector two, which is the quicker sector and has the quickest corners on the track. It was good. It's good to know, especially in the quick corners, that we can match the Ferraris. But they seem to have a bit more downforce."

Rubens Barrichello was happy with third place after taking it from Ralf Schumacher on his final run and said "I'm happy with that. It took a while for us to find a better set-up because the car doesn't seem to have been the same as this morning. This morning, the car felt a bit more together, but I'm happy. I think a final run like that is always under pressure. You have traffic, so many things, so it's good to be at least within a small gap towards the front row and we can always aim for a fight."

16-Mar: What the teams and drivers said following Qualifying in Malaysia ... Report

16-Mar: Malaysian GP Qualifying: Michael Schumacher grabs pole position ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya and Rubens Barrichello. Ralf Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Report ... Notes

16-Mar: Malaysian GP 2nd Saturday Practice Session: Juan Pablo Montoya sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Ralf Schumacher. Rubens Barrichello, David Coulthard and Michael Schumacher make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Report ... Notes

16-Mar: Malaysian GP 1st Saturday Practice Session: Rubens Barrichello sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen. Juan Pablo Montoya, Jenson Button and Ralf Schumacher make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Report ... Notes

15-Mar: At the Friday press conference for the Malaysian Grand Prix, Flavio Briatore has once again indicated that his Renault team is not yet ready to challenge the top teams and believes that 4th or 5th in the championship would be good for them this year. He said "I'm sure we'll have the pace. I'm sure everything is a little bit better but honestly, we are not ready to fight with Williams, Ferrari and McLaren. In Formula One, it's not a miracle. You need to work very hard. There's a year of consolidation. As everyone knows, the engine is quite new and normally and historically you need three years in Formula One to be at the top. We've changed a lot in the team and you need a bit of time but we hope to finish the season as close as possible to the top teams. I believe that if we finish fourth or fifth, it will be very good for us. This is our target."
Briatore doesn't believe it will be so easy for Ferrari to win the championship again and said "It is the first race and I believe that there is plenty of time. I see Williams very strong and McLaren are very strong as well and this is just the first race. I don't believe it is a domination of Ferrari. We have to see what is happening when we get back to Europe but sure, Ferrari are strong but I believe in Australia there were a lot of factors to help Ferrari. We will see after Brazil, after Imola maybe."

Niki Lauda indicated that next week there will be a real test between the R2 and R3 and if the R2 is more than half a second quicker then they'll race it at the San Marino GP. He said "All we have to do here now is see where we qualify tomorrow. If it is not much better than in Melbourne, we're going to compare R2 and R3 next week in Barcelona, to do a real test between the two cars and then we have to take a decision.
If the difference is big, then we would go to Imola with an R2 and continue to develop R3.
The R2 only makes sense to us if it's let's say between half a second and a second quicker than R3 right away. This is what we have to test because if it is only two or three tenths then we could get the R3 going quickly.
Lauda once again confirmed Ford's commitment to the program and said "Everything is signed for the next four years and even Bill Ford, at the Geneva Motor Show, confirmed all this. He's my big boss. So there's no problem whatsoever with the Ford commitment."
As for the first corner accident in Melbourne, Niki Lauda put the blame fully in Rubens Barrichello and said "If you look at it from Ralf's camera he moved right in front of him and braked so Ralf had no chance to do anything. He stayed on his line, basically. So from this point of view, I think it was Barrichello's fault because Ralf had no chance whatsoever. If you look in the camera he just moved in front of him and stopped. Nobody can react that quickly so therefore from my point of view it was his fault."

Nick Heidfeld still thinks about his retirement from the Australian GP at the first corner and hopes to make up for it here. He said "It took us a couple of days to get over it (The Australian GP) and obviously still now we think about it. But in the end, we saw that our car is quite competitive, we don't have a lot of problems with the car, as we've seen here in practice as well so I'm confident.
As for his rookie team-mate beating him in qualifying, he said "Maybe I was a bit unlucky in qualifying but in the end he (Felipe Massa) beat me and I will try and beat him for the rest of the season. Of course. I think he will try do the same."

Takuma Sato indicated that his debut in Formula 1 was very tough and said "Truly it was a tough weekend for me. Of course everything was new for me and so many dramas happened to me, so it was a very very busy weekend. But I had a good race which is very important and I was happy to race. The start was obviously a big thing, when lots of things happened. I managed to avoid the accident and the debris because I was far back enough. But unfortunately I had to stop because of an electrical problem but at least I experienced a Grand Prix start, for me the first ever, which was really exciting."

Both tyre suppliers (Bridgestone and Michelin) were also present. Both indicated they were using new compounds here. As for the big difference between the 1st and 2nd practice sessions, they don't believe the times give any true indication and that we'll have to wait until qualifying. Both suppliers also indicated that neither of them received any request from the Phoenix team for the supply of tyres. 

15-Mar: What the teams and drivers said following the Friday Practice sessions in Malaysia ... Report.

15-Mar: Malaysian GP 2nd Friday Practice Session: Kimi Raikkonen sets the fastest time of the session ahead of David Coulthard and Michael Schumacher. Ralf Schumacher, Mika Salo and Juan Pablo Montoya make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Report ... Notes.

15-Mar: Malaysian GP 1st Friday Practice Session: Michael Schumacher sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Rubens Barrichello and Nick Heidfeld. Bernoldi, Button and Sato make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Report ... Notes.

Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix Schedule:

Session Time (Local / GMT) - Current local time
Friday Practice Session 1
Friday Practice Session 2
Saturday Practice Session 1
Saturday Practice Session 2
Qualifying Session
Warm-up Session
11 AM Kuala Lumpur Time / 3 AM GMT
1 PM Kuala Lumpur Time / 5 AM GMT
9 AM Kuala Lumpur Time / 1 AM GMT 
10:15 AM Kuala Lumpur Time / 2:15 AM GMT
1 PM Kuala Lumpur Time / 5 AM GMT
10:30 AM Kuala Lumpur Time / 2:30 AM GMT
3 PM Kuala Lumpur Time / 7 AM GMT
Go to the Malaysian GP Page

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