Alonso Confident of Keeping Pole

Fernando Alonso says he is more confident of claiming victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix than he was of winning the season-opening race in Australia after finishing fastest in first qualifying on Saturday

Alonso Confident of Keeping Pole

Alonso set a blistering pace to finish ahead of Toyota driver Jarno Trulli with his Renault teammate Giancarlo Fisichella lurking close behind in third place ahead of Sunday's final qualifying.

The Spaniard, who lost out to bad weather in first qualifying in Australia two weeks ago, said: "I am more confident than I was in Australia. I was nearly crying after Friday and now I am smiling.

"I think in Australia I was competitive on Friday and Saturday morning like I was here this morning and then in qualifying I did not show the potential of the Renault car and I was lucky to have a good race afterwards.

"Here with normal qualifying, we have shown again that both Renault cars can be in the top three. Yesterday we had a few problems, but the engineers did a very good job last night and we again found a quick car this morning.

"Now in qualifying you can't make a mistake on the single lap, but you have to push. And that's not only today - you have to have a little gap for tomorrow's qualifying and this is quite difficult.

"But in the end we managed to do a good lap and this first position is a great result for us. It was very close. Since yesterday, the sessions have been very, very close. The times are maybe closer than ever here in Sepang."

The high temperatures seen throughout the start to the race weekend at Sepang have led teams to be concerned about engine life and tyre wear in the gruelling race on Sunday.

Alonso admitted his car is down on power because of the temperatures, not a deliberate ploy from the team, but said: "I am totally confident, 100 per cent confident, that the engine will be not a problem at all in the race."

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