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Ferrari drivers eye Bahrain fightback 11 Apr 2007

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2007.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 7 April 2007 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F2007 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 8 April 2007 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari with Rob Smedley (GBR) Ferrari Race Engineer on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 8 April 2007 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2007 runs wide and loses positions.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 8 April 2007 The podium (L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren, second; Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren, race winner; Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari, third.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 8 April 2007

Both Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa believe Ferrari will re-emerge as the grid’s strongest team in Bahrain this Sunday, despite McLaren’s dominant one-two for Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton at last weekend’s 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 Ferrari’s 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 Saturday’s 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.”

Massa’s pole in Sepang, however, was proof of the Italian team’s 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 Alonso’s 18, while Massa is joint fifth with Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella on seven.