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Friday preview - Ferrari quietly confident 13 Apr 2007

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Thursday, 12 April 2007 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Thursday, 12 April 2007 Anthony Davidson (GBR) Super Aguri F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Thursday, 12 April 2007 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Thursday, 12 April 2007 Jenson Button (GBR) Honda Racing F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Thursday, 12 April 2007

Italian team feeling upbeat in Bahrain; Davidson fully fit again

Fresh from their defeat by McLaren in Malaysia, Ferrari have no intention of lying down here in Bahrain and are confident they can get back into winning mode. Both Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa are adamant that the clarification on the rules regard the flexibility of certain parts of the bodywork - principally the floor or undertray - did not suddenly have the same effect as Samson having his hair cut.

Asked whether the lack of pace in Sepang was down to that, Massa replied immediately: “For sure not, we tried the car both ways and it was exactly the same.”

Speaking of Malaysia, Raikkonen said: “We were competitive at the end and it was not that difficult for us, and know the reasons we were not quick there.”

One, of course, was that he needed to preserve an engine over which there was a small question mark following its water loss in Melbourne. This week both red cars have fresh motors, so that is one factor that will no longer have to be taken into account.

There is also a suggestion that the Ferrari’s cooling is slightly less effective than the McLaren’s, which means that its aero package was compromised a little in the heat in Sepang. It will be hot here too, but it is a drier heat and the ambient temperature will be a little lower. Ferrari don’t seem worried by it.

Raikkonen has already shown his hand with that win in Australia, but Massa needs to make his point quickly. Looking back on Malaysia, he said of the error on the sixth lap that may have cost Ferrari their chance of victory: “I feel that something is missing for me. Starting at the first weekend I was not very lucky then, and last weekend it was not a good start for us. For sure that was our biggest problem. As for the thing with Lewis, it was just another race, I saw a chance and I tried, so I was not so much disappointed to try and overtake him, but in the end I didn’t manage it.

"But that for me wasn’t the worst point of the race, that was the start. Now you can see that in F1 it is very difficult to overtake, I saw the only chance I got, and I tried! It was my only chance to try and get the race back, and I didn’t want to just sit there. But I do feel that something is missing at the moment, a bit of luck or something…”

Meanwhile, as Lewis Hamilton tops up his exercise regime to prepare for his third race under the expectation of more great feats, Jenson Button is maintaining a low-expectation profile over at Honda, David Coulthard continues to look the fittest he has in a while, and Anthony Davidson is raring to go after finally recovering from his flu in Malaysia.

“After my back problem from Melbourne I didn’t want to play up the flu last weekend, otherwise I’d sound like a real sick note!” commented Davidson. “It really was a struggle there. I had a fever, I was hot and cold; at the best it’s bad out there, and with all that I actually thought I was going to faint on the grid before I got into the car! It was really hard for qualifying, because that is so like going into a fight, you against the track. You fight the car, but I had no motivation. I just felt, ‘Okay, whatever.’

“But I feel 100% for the first time now, and I’m ready to fight really hard this weekend. I actually had a fantastic race in Malaysia. I made a great start and straight away all the instincts of racing that you worry you might have lost just testing all the time come straight back to you. I was pleased all the old reactions were still there, and they reminded me why I got into this business in the first place.”

David Tremayne