One step at a time - Nelsinho

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The ING Renault F1 Team takes the first step of the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship: the Australian Grand Prix. For Nelson Piquet Jr. this will be his first ever Grand Prix and so the youngster is very eager to get to work after weeks of testing.

Nelson, you are only a few days away from you first race in Formula 1. What is your state of mind at the moment?

"These last few weeks have been busy with testing and I have been concentrating on my work and preparation so that I am ready for Melbourne. But I still don’t feel like a race driver yet because I have only been doing testing, just like I was last year as the third driver for the ING Renault F1 Team. I think that when I arrive at the track and start working with my engineers I will begin to realise what I am about to do."

You have covered a lot of laps this winter. How did it feel to get behind the wheel of the R28?

"Yes, I have done lots of running this winter, which was essential for my physical and technical preparation. I feel I have progressed a lot during testing and I feel at ease in the R28. We still need to work hard to improve our performance, but the whole team is determined, and there is a good feeling in the team. Everyone is giving their maximum to take the team forwards and I am doing the same."

What are you expecting from your first Grand Prix?

"It is a new circuit for me and I hope that I can find my feet quickly. I feel I have done everything in order to be ready, but the only way to get fully prepared is to do laps on the circuit. Only then can you really have an idea of the layout of the track, how to use the cubs and the best lines. I need to work well with my engineers to set up my car and then I need to get the best of it. I’m very competitive and I would like to score points in my first race, but I recognise that these things can take time. Above all, I want to approach this first race calmly, one step at a time."

You completed numerous race simulations as part of your preparation during the last test. Do you feel you are ready to contest a race?

"I had the opportunity to do many laps this winter, so today I am physically prepared, although I have my doubts as to whether the Malaysian Grand Prix will be as easy! As a team we have gone through the different procedures that I will have to deal with during races, because racing is different to testing and I know that I will face new pressures. I think that I am ready, and above all I am looking forward to the start of the season. I have worked all my life to get here, and it is a great feeling to be starting my first race in Melbourne. I’m conscious that I have a lot to prove this year, but I’m determined to do my best."