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Selected driver preview quotes - Bahrain 11 Apr 2007

Ralf Schumacher (GER) Toyota.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 7 April 2007 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 7 April 2007 Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 7 April 2007 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Honda Racing F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 17 March 2007

The hot, dusty Bahrain Grand Prix is a difficult proposition for all the drivers but most seem impatient to face the unique challenges of Sakhir's demanding circuit…

Nico Rosberg, Williams
2006 Qualifying - 12th, 2006 Race - 7th

“I can’t wait to go to Bahrain. I really like the track and we did well there last year, it also suited me when I drove there in GP2 the year before. I hope we will continue our current momentum, at the moment we have the speed, especially in the race, but I think we might have to work hard on set-up during Friday’s practice sessions, particularly due to the nature of the Bahrain track. I expect a good weekend and we must succeed in achieving what we missed out on in Malaysia. I will be spending the few days between the two races with my parents, who arrived in Bahrain last Thursday, and it will be good to spend some time just relaxing before the weekend.”

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

“I’m looking forward to Bahrain. I like the circuit and last year we produced good lap times there so I think it suits the car as well. The only thing we have to overcome is that we didn’t test there over the winter so we will have a bit of catching up to do on Friday but I don’t think it’ll be a problem. We have a new aero package for the race that I tested at the Malaysia test a couple of weeks ago. It worked well so I’m optimistic that we will get the cars into the top ten if everything goes okay. That has to be our target for this weekend.”

Rubens Barrichello, Honda
2006 Qualifying - 6th, 2006 Race - 15th

“With no time to develop the car for the next race, our focus will be on doing the best job possible with what we have right now. Despite the problems we have with the car, we can still do better, particularly in terms of our qualifying performance. If we can work on that it is possible to get both cars in the top ten and closer to the points so there is progress to be made whilst we're working on the bigger developments back at the factory.”

Jenson Button, Honda
2006 Qualifying - 3rd, 2006 Race - 4th

“Racing in Bahrain is always a great experience and it's a circuit that I really enjoy driving. There are some good fast flowing sections where you can really push the car through the two chicanes at turns four and five and later through the quick left and right at turns nine and ten. There are also several overtaking opportunities, particularly at turn one after the long straight, where you can make up crucial ground as people tend to brake surprisingly early.

“Confidence under braking is the key to a quick lap around Bahrain. You need to believe in the car's performance and have no doubts that you can stop effectively. The most challenging sector is probably turn fourteen which has a very quick approach where you brake as you turn into the corner, so you have to be careful not to lock the inside front wheel. The sand blowing onto the tarmac can be a challenge as you never know how the grip levels will change from lap to lap.

“It’s a country I really like Bahrain because it's quiet, chilled and you can get away from everything in a wonderful climate. I'm having a house built out there at the moment which should be ready in time for next year's race."

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota
2006 Qualifying - 17th, 2006 Race - 14th

“The home of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir, is one of the latest breed of race tracks and a great modern facility. We know that Bahrain will be hot but the heat should not be exceptional and it is less humid than the last race in Malaysia. Even if we do face extreme conditions the teams have so much experience that from a technical point of view it shouldn’t make too much difference. We had a mixed time here during the two weeks of testing before the season but we were able to make some improvements towards the end. Since then we have made a strong start to the season but we clearly have some work to do to catch the top teams. Still, you need to watch a few races before you get a clear picture of the situation. I didn’t have the best of races in Malaysia but we will look for an improved performance and better finish in Bahrain.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota
2006 Qualifying - 14th, 2006 Race - 16th

“We have had a solid start to 2007 and while we performed well in Melbourne and Malaysia, Bahrain has proved difficult for us in the past. I was delighted to make the podium here in 2005 but last year we had a problem because it was the first race and we didn’t fully understand how to make the most of our package with our new tyres. At this year’s pre-season test at Sakhir we struggled too. So it’s never been our track but there is no particular reason why it should be hard for us. It’s an incredible venue with state-of-the-art facilities and it is not a difficult track from a driving perspective. It is hard on braking and there is always wind which brings dust and sand onto the track. Otherwise it is a very clean, smooth circuit with few bumps. We have had a reliable start to the year and we head to Bahrain looking to improve our fortunes in the kingdom with a good result.”

Fernando Alonso, McLaren
2006 Qualifying - 4th, 2006 Race - 1st

"After taking my first victory with the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team on Sunday, I cannot wait to get back on track already this weekend in Bahrain. There is a good feeling in the team at the moment and we all want to be out there racing and fighting for wins and points, but we also know that we need to find more speed and everyone is working hard on this. Like Sepang, the track at Bahrain has lots of space and always seems to lead to exciting racing. It is very wide and this layout gives you room to take more chances, but as the track is in the middle of a desert any part of the circuit off the racing line can be quite slippery due to the sand, so you still have to be very careful! I won the Bahrain Grand Prix last year, and would like to try and repeat that result this weekend. We had a positive test here before the start of the season, we learned a lot about the MP4-22 and the Bridgestone Potenzas. The car has developed a lot since then, and it will be interesting to see how it performs at the Bahrain International Circuit with these upgrades."

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

"To have started my debut season in Formula One with two podium positions is more than I could ever have expected. With the team, I will keep pushing hard to develop and continue to fight for more results like these. However I am aware this is a dream start to the season in what is a difficult sport. Bahrain, like Malaysia, will be another demanding race and I will have new experiences and challenges. I am really looking forward to it though! Bahrain is the first track I have racing experience with, having tested on it in the MP4-22 in February and raced on the circuit in an F3 car in 2004. I really enjoyed racing there, it has some great sections to it, such as the sequence of turns five and six, which are very fast but you must be very precise to get it right and get a good time."

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
2006 Qualifying - 22nd, 2006 Race - 3rd

“I have always liked Sakhir. It is a challenging place. We have always gone there with a good speed, but some how we have not been able to get the whole weekend together in a way we would have wanted to. Sometimes it is like that. Some circuit gives you hard times as long as you hopefully get everything going exactly right in your way.

“We will get a new fresh engine to Bahrain. That makes me feel very optimistic.
As I have always said I am here to race just to win. When we have our whole package working 100 percent, we should be back to the same speed as what we had in Melbourne.

“Before the season we had a good test in Sakhir circuit. For sure, McLaren has improved since that, but at least we should be able to challenge them better than in Sepang. You never know before the weekend how it goes. Formula One moves on so amazingly quickly and so many things can happen during the race, also.”

Felipe Massa, Ferrari
2006 Qualifying - 2nd, 2006 Race - 9th

“As usual, I will be trying to win for myself and for Ferrari. I quite like the Bahrain circuit actually. Last year, I just missed out on pole to Michael (Schumacher) by a thousandth of a second. I had a very bad race, making a mistake and then I had a very long pit stop because I stayed in the pits for nearly 50 seconds with a stuck wheel. But 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.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault
2006 Qualifying - 9th, 2006 Race - DNF

“I think it will be tough race for us, but we will be aiming to do our maximum. We are realistic enough to know we have a long way to go to catch the leaders, but everybody is very motivated to do it! The circuit is usually dirty and slippery because of the sand, especially when it's windy. So we will need to constantly adapt the car to the improving track conditions, but for sure, the information we got during the winter tests will be important.”

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

“I raced in the GP2 series final here in 2005, and even though I missed out on the title at that race, I still have good memories of the track. It is a demanding circuit, and the conditions are tough for the cars and the drivers, which means we usually see interesting races here.

“We ran here in February, so we have a good idea of how the car handles on this circuit. It features a lot of long straights and a few fast corners, which means you need to find a good compromise on downforce between good straightline speed, and enough grip in the corners. We have to pay attention to cooling the brakes properly, because there are some major braking areas. So we need good cooling, and good consistency from the braking system. The tyres will have a hard time too, but as always, we will be able to understand their behaviour and performance during the practice sessions on Friday, in order to fine- tune the car's handling for qualifying and the race.”

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
2006 Qualifying - 10th, 2006 Race - 12th

“The track lay-out and all the facilities in Bahrain are nice. The fact the circuit lies in the middle of the desert makes it somewhat special. If it is windy the track becomes very sandy, and this has an influence on our driving because it means loss of grip and it is also hard on the machinery. This year almost every team has current data from Bahrain because we had this double test at the end of February.

“Besides this, it is always something unusual for us to see the locals in their long robes and the veiled women. However, I generally like something out of the ordinary."

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
2006 Qualifying - NA, 2006 Race - NA

“The Bahrain race in 2006 was my first outing during a Grand Prix weekend as a Friday driver. It was a really great feeling. There was little grip on the circuit, especially because of the sand blown in on the desert wind, but the circuit is certainly easier with the V8 engines than it used to be with the V10s. Now you can take two or three of the corners flat out. With new tyres and reduced grip, however, the 2007 race promises to bring new challenges. Overall Bahrain is a really nice circuit and I recently had two very productive days of testing there.”

Adrian Sutil, Spyker
2006 Qualifying - NA, 2006 Race - NA

“I'm looking forward to this race after the hard weekend in Malaysia. We introduced the aero update and worked hard to get as much information as possible, but unfortunately we missed the chance to get the data from the race. But I am sure with the information we did get, we will be better in Bahrain.”

Christijan Albers, Spyker
2006 Qualifying - 18th, 2006 Race - DNF

“I like the Bahrain circuit very much - seeing the track appear out of the desert from seemingly the middle of nowhere is very impressive. There's only one aim this time: to finish. It's been disappointing so far not to get to the end of both races, particularly as there's been so much improvement from the start of the season. We all now want to show what we can do.”