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Alonso feeling 'better than ever' 21 Aug 2006

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, German Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Hockenheim, Germany, 29 July 2006

World champion Fernando Alonso heads into this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix defending a 10-point lead over Michael Schumacher, with just five rounds of the season remaining. Alonso may not have won a race since the Canadian Grand Prix back in June, but refreshed after Formula One racing’s summer break, the Spaniard is in confident mood…

Q: Fernando, you have enjoyed a three-week break since Hungary. How was it?
Fernando Alonso:
It was great! Everybody wanted a break to recharge their batteries, not just the drivers but the mechanics and engineers as well. We all need to have some time off, and it means we arrive in Turkey feeling better than ever. Myself and Renault are leading both championships, we have prepared well for this race and we are feeling fresh. It's the ideal way to go into the final races of the season.

Q: Do you enjoy the Istanbul Park circuit?
Yes, and parts of it are like a classic circuit such as Spa. It is a very wide, modern circuit and there are plenty of overtaking opportunities. It features some special corners as well, which are blind when you go into them, so it's quite different to what we normally find on a new track. And of course, there is turn 8, which is a very long left-hander where we will probably be flat out with the V8 this year, with lateral loadings of 4G. It's a fun circuit, and this will be one of the season's important races.

Q: This is the second Turkish Grand Prix. Will that change anything compared to last year?
I think it will just make everything that bit easier for everybody, from the drivers to the teams and the organisers. Everything was new last year, and we needed to learn about the circuit and the facilities. This year, I am sure it will be a bit easier for everybody and that we can put the experience from last year to good use.

Q: Finally, you go into this race with a ten-point lead over Michael Schumacher - and five races remaining. Are you confident?
Yes, I'm feeling very positive. I am in the position where everybody wants to be - leading the championship, with the races counting down. There was some pressure on us after Germany, but the race in Hungary showed that the R26 is still very competitive, and that you have to take every weekend one at a time. Turkey will be a new race with its own challenges, but I am feeling confident. This type of circuit suits our car, and Michelin will bring good tyres. So we need to concentrate on our job, put the package together and make no mistakes. Then let's see what the race brings!