MANAMA: Spanish double world champion Fernando Alonso is in a hurry to follow up his season-opening success in Malaysia with a dose of the same at this weekend s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Alonso s performance in Malaysia last Sunday was accompanied by a superb performance by his British team-mate Lewis Hamilton finishing second.
The Formula One rookie, 22, fought off the Ferrari s of Brazilian Felipe Massa and Finland s Kimi Raikkonen to ensure McLaren s first one-two since the 2005 Brazilian Grand Prix.
The victory in Malaysia has taken the former Renault driver Alonso, to the top of the driver s championship standings and McLaren to the top of the constructor s championship, leaving the Spaniard optimistic of more success at the Bahrain circuit at Sakhir.
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, he said.
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.
Alonso, 25, has won the Bahrain Grand Prix on route to each of his two consecutive driver s championship and many believe the main threat to him repeating that feat this year will come from Hamilton.
Hamilton the 2006 GP2 Champion, is yet to finish out of the podium places this season and after third and second place finishes he will look to continue his rapid rise to prominence with a win here in Bahrain.
To have started my debut season in Formula One with two podium positions is more than I could ever have expected, he said.
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.
Another man looking forward to racing in Bahrain is Raikkonen, who will be equipped with a new V8 engine.
The Ferrari driver won easily in Melbourne but had to be content with third in Malaysia where he claimed he was forced to drive conservatively to protect his car after a water leak caused problems towards the end of the Australian Grand Prix.
All the time we had to play on the safe side with that engine. I always want to fight for the victory. That is why I felt a little bit disappointed and empty inside when I had to race just in a way to be able to finish, he said.
We will get a new fresh engine for Bahrain that makes me feel very optimistic, when we have our whole package working 100 per cent, we should be back to the same speed we had in Melbourne.
Before the season we had a good test at Sakhir. For sure, McLaren has improved since that, but at least we should be able to challenge them better than in Sepang.
Raikkonen s Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa has defended his doomed early attempt to pass Lewis Hamilton in Malaysia.
The Brazilian was fastest in practice and claimed pole position in qualifying at Sepang, but fell to third behind the McLaren s on the opening lap after a sluggish start and a brave overtaking move by Hamilton.
Massa then made an unsuccessful attempt to pass Hamilton on lap six, his car leaving the road as he braked too late.
This caused him to fall down the field and finish a disappointing fifth, but the Brazilian has stood by his aggressive approach saying he would do the same in Bahrain.
Having lost position to Fernando and to Lewis, I knew that if I did not pass Lewis as soon as possible, my race was effectively over, said Massa.
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, you have to try in life and if tomorrow I am in the same position, I would try again.
Hopefully, I would get past this time.