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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 March 2007, 06:20 GMT
Heikki Kovalainen column
Heikki Kovalainen column
By Heikki Kovalainen
Renault F1 driver

Heikki Kovalainen
I understand the team's frsutration - I'm more disappointed than anyone

My first Grand Prix was a disaster. The whole race was a bit of a mess and I'm going to try to forget it as quickly as possible.

It was a shame it happened on my debut. It would have been better to kick off my season with a better performance, but everything went wrong from the start to the end.

My team boss Flavio Briatore did not mince his words afterwards, in private or public, but that's completely normal.

Everyone was disappointed. I wasn't expecting anyone to say, "Well done", or "It's part of the learning curve."

I understand their frustration. I am more disappointed than anyone, but I'm not going to let my head go down and be sad about it.

I have learned enough as a test driver to do a lot better job than I did in Melbourne but unfortunately there were too many mistakes that cost me time.

Renault F1 boss Flavio Briatore
Kovalainen's race was "rubbish", team boss Briatore said
I don't think I learned a lot last weekend other than what can go wrong. There is not much to take from last weekend. I finished the race, but that was it.

I know I can do a lot better. I haven't lost any of my confidence in my own ability.

But I'm going to get over it and go to the next race and bounce back and be back in the game.

It all started from not qualifying very well. I just wasn't quick enough. I didn't do a clean enough lap to be able to qualify in the top 10. Then I was in traffic the whole race and made too many mistakes.

When I qualified 13th, I knew it was going to be difficult to do a decent race, but it was a lot worse than I was expecting.

I thought I could get into the points and if everything went well to finish close to fifth place, where Fisi, my team-mate, finished.

I was thinking sixth, seventh was possible with a good strategy and good pace. But it didn't happen.

Our car is not as quick as the front-running cars, but it's better than where I finished with it

I had a spin at the end of the pit straight, and shortly after that I went off on to the grass as well and I ended up 10th.

I probably lost five to 10 seconds with all the mistakes. But probably the result wouldn't have been that different anyway. I might have finished ninth.

It was unusual for me. I made too many mistakes, which I don't normally do. And the pace is also normally better than it was.

I was trying to push as much as I could. Our car is not as quick as the front-running cars, but it's better than where I finished with it.

We are about the same pace as the BMW Saubers. It looks like Ferrari are a little bit ahead, and then the McLaren, and then BMW and us.

Heikki Kovalainen's Renault during the Australian Grand Prix
Kovalainen wants to forget his F1 debut as quickly as he can
I think we can fight with the BMWs and on a good day maybe fight with McLaren. Third or fourth fastest - that's where we expected to be before the first race.

We have a strong team and that's not going to break down after one race.

There is no magic trick. We just need to make sure that everything goes better. That's very important.

We have a test before the next race in Malaysia. We must prepare even more carefully - and especially myself - to make sure I get back to the normal way of driving, and then do the business in Malaysia.

In Melbourne we had some problems in free practice on Friday, and hopefully we will get a little bit more time in Malaysia to get into a good weekend straight away and then after that do qualifying without mistakes and clean laps.

I'm staying in Sydney for a week but I'd rather get straight back in the car

Once I get into the leading group, it should be OK. The race is much easier without a slower car in front of you - it will be easier to keep on a good pace.

I'm staying in Sydney for a week before I fly out to Kuala Lumpur.

I have my trainer with me, so we're going to be doing some fitness, and my family are here, too, so I suppose we'll go and do some sightseeing around the city as well.

To be honest, though, I'd rather be doing another race tomorrow and get back in the rhythm. I can't wait to get to the test and get back in the car.

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