Ferrari drivers eye Bahrain fightback 11 Apr 2007
Both Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa believe Ferrari will re-emerge as the grids strongest team in Bahrain this Sunday, despite McLarens dominant one-two for Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton at last weekends Malaysian Grand Prix.
Raikkonen came home third behind the triumphant McLaren pair at Sepang. Blighted by concerns over the durability of his engine - which had suffered a water leak in the previous round in Australia - Raikkonen was left unable to challenge second-placed Hamilton as hard as he would have liked. With a new V8 in his F2007 for the Bahrain Grand Prix, however, the Finn is confident his pace will improve.
We will get a new fresh engine to Bahrain, Raikkonen told Ferraris official website. That makes me feel very optimistic. When we have our whole package working 100 percent, we should be back to the same speed as what we had in Melbourne. For sure, McLaren has improved, but at least we should be able to challenge them better than in Sepang.
Massa also struggled during the Malaysian race, despite seizing pole during Saturdays qualifying. The Brazilian lost two places to the McLarens at the start and a rash passing attempt on Hamilton later on in the Grand Prix resulted in an off-track moment - and the loss of yet more places. He eventually crossed the line in fifth.
I knew that if I did not pass Lewis as soon as possible, my race was effectively over, explained Massa. I said to myself that I did not want to sit behind him, looking at the back of a McLaren for the whole race! If people accuse me of making mistake, I say, yes I did make a mistake, because otherwise I would have been ahead of him. But, I am not disappointed that I tried to pass him.
Massas pole in Sepang, however, was proof of the Italian teams continued pace and the Brazilian believes he will be in a better position to fight for victory at the Bahrain International Circuit this weekend.
I will only carry with me the positive things, like the fact I took pole position, he added. As usual, I will be trying to win for myself and for Ferrari. I quite like the Bahrain circuit actually. I have always been competitive there and in the winter tests I was fast. Hopefully, we can get a better result in the race on Sunday.
Ferrari sit second in the constructors championship standings on 23 points, nine behind leaders McLaren. Raikkonen is second in the drivers standings, on 16 points to Alonsos 18, while Massa is joint fifth with Renaults Giancarlo Fisichella on seven.