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Chinese Grand Prix - driver preview quotes 04 Oct 2007

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 4 October 2007 Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 4 October 2007 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 4 October 2007 Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 4 October 2007 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 4 October 2007

Coming so soon after last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, the drivers would be forgiven for feeling a little too tired to get really excited about the prospect of the Chinese race. Not so. With its challenging corners and up-to-date facilities, most can't wait to get back on track at the Shanghai circuit...

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota
2006 Qualifying - 17th, 2006 Race - DNF

“The Shanghai International Circuit is a really impressive facility. For the team the garages and the offices are as good as anywhere and for the drivers the circuit itself is a real challenge. It has some technically demanding corners, particularly Turn One which tightens and just seems to keep on going! It is important not to make a mistake here. It’s a fun place to race and I am looking forward to it. We have not had much chance of a rest between the Japanese and Chinese Grands Prix but I am still looking forward to this race and I hope to get a good result. The result in Japan was very disappointing, especially as it was our home race. The weather was terrible on Saturday and Sunday but the conditions are the same for everyone. Let’s hope we have better weather in Shanghai.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota
2006 Qualifying - 18th, 2006 Race - DNF

“It’s good to be going back to China again, to one of the best circuits we visit in terms of the facilities. The track itself is also quite special because there are corners which you just don’t find anywhere else, like Turn One. It is a challenge to find the best set-up for Shanghai because of the mixture of slow twists and long straights. Even though there are two quite long straights it is still quite hard to overtake here, with the one main opportunity coming at the end of the back straight. We are nearly at the end of the season and we have just had a frustrating weekend in Japan. It has been a difficult season but I would like to end it with good results and I believe we have the potential to do that in China.”

Fernando Alonso, McLaren
2006 Qualifying - 1st, 2006 Race - 2nd

“My retirement in Japan has not made it easy for me in the championship, but there are still 20 points to be won and I am going to fight hard for each one of them. There is always a lot of talk of pressure and distractions at this time of the year, all I think about is racing and winning at Shanghai and Interlagos. We are all focused on this aim and giving the maximum over the next few weeks. I like to race at the Shanghai circuit, it is new but it has character, although I have mixed memories from the track. Last year was a frustrating race, whereas in 2005 I won. I hope to repeat this result this weekend! The track is very wide and has been designed to allow overtaking. Slipstreaming along the main back straight and then passing into the first corner is one of the main chances. You have to make sure you have as much momentum as possible when you exit Turn 13, so mechanical grip is as important as making sure we have a competitive top speed.”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2006 Qualifying - NA, 2006 Race - NA

“We are going into these races with a really tight drivers’ battle with only 12 points between me and Fernando. Anything is still possible but I am feeling confident and very determined and I hope we will have another couple of exciting races. There has been a lot of talk over the last couple of days about the championship, but I just push that to the back of my mind. I am only focused on the next two races and doing the best I can in China and Brazil with the team. The last two races of this season are at tracks that I have not ever been to before. I don’t see that as a problem, as this has been the case on four occasions already this season, at Melbourne, Montreal, Indy and Fuji and I was on the podium at all these races. From what I understand of the Shanghai circuit, it is very vast in comparison with Interlagos, so we will probably have two quite different races. Everything is too tight for me to predict what will happen, but the races in China always seem to be exciting and I feel well prepared to take on the challenge.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault
2006 Qualifying - 2nd, 2006 Race - 3rd

“It is a driver's circuit, and also a big challenge for the engineers to find the right set up for the different sections of the track. Fortunately, we have plenty of time to find the right settings during the Friday practice sessions.

“The circuit includes some long straights and high speed corners but also a number of slow speed sections. As always, the key will be to find the best solution between having a stable, neutral car in the high speed curves and good straightline speed to overtake competitors on the straights. We will be fine-tuning the aero levels to find the best compromise from Friday onwards.”

Heikki Kovalainen, Renault
2006 Qualifying - NA, 2006 Race - NA

“It is another one of the new F1 races, and like in Japan there is a very special atmosphere. The spectators are still learning about the sport, and they are very enthusiastic. The whole Grand Prix week in Shanghai will be enjoyable but at the track, I want to get into a good rhythm as soon as possible on Friday and make the most of each practice session, because I have never driven here before.

“I have been watching and working from the recordings of past races, especially the on-board camera views, and I would say that the circuit is a bit like Bahrain. There are some long straights, quick changes of direction and some heavy braking areas. At this kind of circuit, you need a very good aero balance on the car to be quick through the fast, flowing sections. We pay a lot of attention to achieving good braking stability because you can gain a lot of time there. The important thing will be to work well on Friday, to find the limits for qualifying and the race. We are determined to show what the car is really capable of during these final two races.”

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
2006 Qualifying - 8th, 2006 Race - 7th

“Turns One, Two and Three are among my favourite sections in the race calendar. You approach the first turn at high speed, go into it flat out, but then the corner increasingly tightens up and you have to shift right down to second. Making a clean exit will be even more interesting next year when we'll be driving without traction control again. Overall I'm rather fond of this circuit. Although it's so new, the track layout has a natural feel and a character about it. The paddock and the grandstands are also very distinctive and absolutely huge in size.

“The same goes for a number of buildings in downtown Shanghai, but the ultramodern skyscrapers, hotels and restaurants along the Bund are just part of the picture. In a lot of districts and in the surrounding areas you'll come across grinding poverty. This year my family will be joining me for the Asian tour and I hope we'll find a little time to visit the nicer sides of the city together.”

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
2006 Qualifying - 9th, 2006 Race - 13th

“After Fuji we go straight to China. Last year's Grand Prix was pretty interesting for me with qualifying wet and then touching with Robert Doornbos at the start of the race. I gained a lot of positions but then when the track was drying we put the grooved tyres on too early. Quite a nice track with, again, a very long straight. Maybe there is an overtaking possibility at the end of the long back straight. This is very long, but it is not easy because before the straight there is a really quick right hand corner and it is always difficult to follow the cars very closely there.”

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
2006 Qualifying - 5th, 2006 Race - DNF

“We will see how it goes this weekend, although the position in the championship does not look strong. I will be trying to win the last two races, but really now, the championship is not up to us, because even if I win the last two Grands Prix, that might not be enough to take the title. It's looking pretty impossible.”

Rubens Barrichello, Honda
2006 Qualifying - 3rd, 2006 Race - 6th

“Shanghai is a fantastic race venue with impressive facilities and an exciting modern track layout. I won the very first Grand Prix here in 2004 so it holds some good memories for me. The combination of long straights and low/medium speed corners makes for a challenging technical layout with the main feature being the length of some of the corners. The complex including Turn One is fairly tricky with a combination of hard braking and lateral acceleration.”

Jenson Button, Honda
2006 Qualifying - 7th, 2006 Race - 4th

“The Shanghai circuit is a demanding one for the drivers and quite technical but it is also fun to drive. The length of the corners, particularly Turn One which is tough on the neck, is quite something and you have to remember to breathe as you go round the lap. In Turns Seven/Eight/Nine the g-forces are so high that you are unable to breathe. There are a few good overtaking opportunities, particularly going into Turn One and then at the banked entry onto the back straight which is very unique to this circuit and presents the ability to take a number of lines onto the straight itself.”

Sakon Yamamoto, Spyker
2006 Qualifying - 21st, 2006 Race - 16th

“The race last year was the first time I had finished a race in F1. It was a busy race though as there was heavy rain that then dried so it was difficult to get the calls right. I had to stop several times to change tyres and one time we changed to dry tyres too early so I then had to stop again! It was a complicated race, but I liked the track. It's completely different to other circuits, some corners are difficult to get right, but I do enjoy driving here. We had a good result in Japan, but now I want to be even stronger going into the last two events of the year in China and Brazil.”

Nico Rosberg, Williams
2006 Qualifying - 16th, 2006 Race - 11th

“Shanghai is a very good track and it should suit our car quite well. It’s also a great city, so I’m looking forward to a very pleasant weekend, both on and off the track. I hope we can continue our current form that we’ve demonstrated in the last few races because it’s now really important that we keep Red Bull Racing behind us in the constructors’ championship. Before going to Shanghai, I will be in Hong Kong for a couple of days for some marketing commitments for our partners, RBS and Oris.”

Alexander Wurz, Williams
2006 Qualifying - NA, 2006 Race - NA

“I remember the Shanghai track very well from last year when I had an awesome time as Williams F1’s Friday driver posting the quickest times during both practice sessions. The layout of the track should suit our car and my driving style, so I’m going there with high hopes for a good result for the penultimate Grand Prix of the season. From a set-up perspective, the track has all sorts of criteria. The long straight obviously demands low downforce, but the rest of the track doesn’t, so the best option is to go for a compromise between mechanical and aerodynamic settings. Just talking about it makes me want to be there driving it already!”