Formula 1: Alguersuari thanks Schumi

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Formula 1: Jaime Alguersuari exclusive
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You fought Michael Schumacher for a long time in Melbourne. Was that something special for you?
A lguersuari: The fight itself was very impressive for me. It's always nice to fight someone on the track. If you only drive alone, you lose the racing feeling a little. I really enjoy it. It's just fun. Especially when it comes to Michael (Schumacher, editor's note). But at first I didn't really register that it was Michael. Sure I saw him, but that wasn't my first thought. It was just a driver who, like me, was fighting for points. We just went as fast as we could. The pace was pretty much the same. If I made a mistake, he could catch up and I had to fight. That was a great feeling. That went about 35 to 40 laps to the end of the race and it was pretty close. In the end, he won the fight. He got the point and I didn't. But I didn't just lose a point. Michael gave me more than that one point. The feeling of really fighting with the car. I've never seen that before in Formula 1. This is good for me and my learning process to better understand where the limit of the car is, where you can slow down a driver and how you handle the tires. At which points you have to push more and where you have to push less. Because a race is long and the conditions were not easy in Australia. The graining of the tires, for example, was a big problem.

You fought him 38 laps. Then a small mistake was enough. Was that very disappointing?
Alguersuari: Yes of course. There were only five laps left to the finish. We caught up with Barrichello and de la Rosa very quickly. When I was behind de le Rosa, I got a little understeer at Turn 14. Michael tried to slow me down in turn 15. He had a bit more speed into the corner so I tried to block him a bit. I think we even touched each other. In turn 16 he had an advantage on the outside and thus again on the inside in the next corner. In the end he did it. We both passed de la Rosa. I lost the point, but as I said, Michael gave me more than one point.

If you look at such a long duelconstantly in the rearview mirror or are you just concentrating on yourself?
Alguersuari : If someone is on the same level with you and can drive in the slipstream, then they'll get up a little faster the straight line. The Mercedes are generally a little better than us at the moment. Michael pushed very hard. I was just trying not to make mistakes, which wasn't easy. Next to the racing line it was still very damp. You flew off quickly. I tried to focus on myself. Of course, I also looked in the mirror to see where Michael is.

How often do you look in the mirror in one go?
Alguersuari: Sometimes I don't watch at all. In the race, I looked maybe ten to 15 times. That depended on my lap times. I tried to keep my rhythm and not make any mistakes. The pace was pretty good. I was faster than Barrichello and caught up with him. If you compare my lap times with those of the top, I wasn't far away. I knew that I was fast and that I was getting faster and faster towards the end. Sometimes Michael lost a little and then caught up again. We were pretty much the same speed.

Michael had some nice words for you in the media after the race. Did that mean anything to you?
Alguersuari: I didn't read what he said. It was a clean fight and we can both be happy. It's difficult to say who deserves the point more. We both fought and in the end he won.

If you both overtook Pedro de la Rosa, would it have been possible for you to take advantage of the situation and overtake Michael again ?
Alguersuari: Maybe I could have tried if we had a few more laps. But it was difficult. Obviously it's not easy to overtake Michael. He knows exactly how to defend his position. I have to learn a few things, however. Never say never, but it would have been difficult.

Michael and Fernando came from behind after the first lap. How did Alonso get past you?
Alguersuari: He passed me at the pits. One lap ahead of me he switched from intermediates to the soft compound slicks. I was still on the road with the intermediates. So we didn't even meet on the track.

Who had the idea of ​​changing slicks for the second time at Toro Rosso?
Alguersuari: When we put on slicks, the track wasn't completely dry. The probability of getting the tires to grain was very high because the temperatures were still very low. The track didn't offer much grip. Then if you push too hard, the rear tires will break down. Then you lost. If you look at the lap times, there was a moment in theRace - when I went to switch - the lap times suddenly dropped. At that moment, experienced drivers like Michael and Barrichello understood that they had to run the tires harder to get more temperature in and thus eliminate the grain. But you only feel that with experience. I don't have that experience. You have to know a lot about tires. The tires are everything, your feet on the track, so to speak. I haven't understood yet that I have to put more stress on the rear tires to get them to recover. That's why I announced over the pit radio that I needed new tires. That wasn't too bad, because we were faster on the way afterwards. But I have to work more with the tires. If you come from the GP2 or the World Series or Formula 3, the main task is to learn how to use the tires.

Did technical director Giorgio Ascanelli explain to you after the race how to grain gets rid of?
Alguersuari: Yes, Giorgio knows the situation. I checked the tires after the race and spoke to the Bridgestone technicians. In the end, it's all about learning more about the tire and understanding what type of grit you have and how to get a grip on it. It's just a matter of experience and knowledge.

What else is there to learn? How satisfied are you with the development?
Alguersuari: You always learn new things. Even Michael is still learning with Mercedes on his comeback. For me there is of course a lot more to learn. I need more time because there are no test drives and I don't know the tracks. But it's better than last year, which is positive. We see great progress on the race distance. We're really good at that. As I said, you have to learn to understand the tires even better. The weak point is in qualifying. You have to analyze where you have to push more, where less and how to bring the whole round together with all three sectors.

Is that a technical problem or a mental one?
Alguersuari: It's just the experience. I'm sure Barrichello could also set the qualifying lap with a cigar in hand. It's difficult for me to get everything on one lap. And that is currently the biggest difference between Buemi and me. I heard from the Toro Rosso engineers that Sebastian Vettel and Sebastien Buemi felt the same way. We have to work on that. In the race, the pace is almost the same as Buemi.

Would you like to have a more experienced teammate?
Alguersuari: Buemi is in his age group and with probably the best driver in the world in his experience. He is a good role model to use as a guide. Not only in Formula 1, but also in Formula 3 and GP2, he always hasI gave everything and was on the move quickly. For me it is good to have Buemi as a team-mate because he always drives at the limit. It's always good to see where he can improve. He knows the routes and he understands the car. It should be in front of me at the end of the year, that's clear. But my pace is still coming, I'm not worried about that. Right now I'm doing what I can. We can realistically assess our performance. It's good that Buemi shows what can be achieved by car. We are currently unable to score points or make it into the top 8. But hopefully we can do it by the end of the year and we both drivers improve. Especially me, of course.


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