Cristiano da Matta Q&A

Cristiano da Matta was one of four rookies in the Australian GP, and given the strength of Toyota in testing the Champ Car champion arguably had the best chance of making an impression on his first appearance. Although his grid position was relatively modest compared to that of team-mate Olivier Panis, he did make an impression on Friday, where running last he put in two quick sectors only to lose out in the last section of the lap. In the race he made it through the difficult damp early laps only to spin off after misjudging his braking. Many folk expect great things from the Brazilian. Adam Cooper spoke to him after the race.

Cristiano da Matta Q&A



The feeling I have is the speed is there, I just have to put everything together in a race situation. Today was difficult. It was definitely not the best situation to have a debut in F1 or any series, I think. What I'm more mad about than anything was that I had gone through the most difficult part of the race, which was when I was on grooved tyres in the wet. After that it was just a mistake I made, and I could have done it driving any other car. I was just covered by the two cars that were ahead - they blocked my view to the braking markers. When in saw the braking markers, it was already too late.



It was not so bad. It was not easy, but it was OK.



Yeah, I was very cautious there. I didn't lose any positions there. But from watching this race in previous years on TV I know how eventful the first turn is.



No, not really. I passed Wilson, who was on rain tyres - but that was not a battle, you just drive by! He had passed me when I went on the gravel trap on the first lap. I went off on Turn 6. A Jordan, Fisichella I think, got pushed. I didn't have anywhere to go, and I had to go to. Then as it started to dry out I was catching up with people that were ahead of me. I got close to Pizzonia as Michael was coming out of the pits, and that's when the mistake happened.



It's not easy, and it worked against me in terms of track time. The thing is it didn't feel like qualifying, because normally you see who is quickest, and now you don't know who is getting how much fuel. Friday's more true than Saturday, I think.



Well, I made one mistake, and the rest of it was we had the gearing for the corners set wrong. I hadn't experienced low fuel yet, so I was going through the turn's one gear lower, so that was slowing down the car too much.



I would be happy even if I had finished last in the race. Like I said, it was not the easiest situation for a first race of anybody.



Yes, but that's the time you can make a difference!

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