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Kovalainen pleased with his own driving

Heikki Kovalainen in SepangHeikki Kovalainen says he is pleased with the way he is driving despite the lack of competitiveness of the McLaren-Mercedes MP4-24.

The Finn outpaced team-mate Lewis Hamilton in all three free practice sessions and qualifying for last weekend's Australian Grand Prix, and he believes that his all-round contribution to the team has stepped up a level since 2008.

"You seem to be one of the few people to notice that," he said when asked by AUTOSPORT whether he was pleased outpacing Hamilton in Melbourne.

"I was quite happy until Sunday about my performance and I feel that I am working better with the team and the engineers. Everything is going better than last year."

Kovalainen added that he is relishing the challenge of moving McLaren up the grid. Despite the team's lack of pace, he is hopeful that the hard work will turn the car into a race winner.

"I feel fascinated by this challenge," he said. "It's nice to be part of this process. Hopefully we can turn it around soon and then we can be pleased about what we have achieved.

"It's actually not so bad to drive, but it's just lacking grip. We're losing most of the laptime because we don't have enough efficient downforce at the moment.

"Of course there are other areas we can improve as well, but lack of grip is the biggest factor slowing us up.

"We are working hard to turn it around and I'm sure we will be able to improve a lot during this year and fight for victories."

Despite his optimism that McLaren's fortunes will turn around in the long term, Kovalainen expects a difficult Malaysian Grand Prix weekend.

"Potentially, it will be harder here," he said. "It could be more difficult than it was in Melbourne.

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