Raikkonen Confident for Malaysia

Kimi Raikkonen believes his McLaren car is as quick as rivals Renault and has tipped the Woking-based team to fight for victory in this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix

Raikkonen Confident for Malaysia

Renault took first blood this season when Italian Giancarlo Fisichella won the season-opening race in Australia two weeks ago but Raikkonen believes his team failed to show their true form. The Finn was forced to start from the pitlane at Albert Park after stalling on the grid but fought his way back into eighth place by the end of the race.

"It (Renault) looked pretty strong in the race, but Fisichella had an easy race because he started in first place and there were a few slower cars in the middle," said Raikkonen. "I think [Fernando] Alonso was quick during the race, but if you look at our race pace where we were in clear air I don't think we were that much behind and the car was missing a few parts, which didn't help.

"So I think race-wise we should be there, maybe not exactly as good as they are but it depends a lot from circuit to circuit. I think our car is pretty good."

McLaren were pre-season favourites to take the fight to Ferrari, who have won the last six Constructors' Championships in a complete domination of the sport this decade.

But after winning at Sepang in 2003 Raikkonen is confident that the circuit will suit his car and he added: "Our cars are usually strong here and we have a very good package so we should be quite strong.

"I think we were unlucky with qualifying and with the weather (in Australia). Quite a lot of people were stopped. Then I stalled the car on the start and that didn't help.

"But I think the race pace was pretty good so, looking at how the car usually runs here, better on this circuit than Melbourne, I think we should have a pretty good package."

The weather is sure to play a part in the race itself with temperatures rising beyond 30 degrees Celsius in the build-up to the race weekend.

But all drivers have been working hard to combat the heat and humidity and Raikkonen added: "It is much hotter here than it was at the last race and so will harder for the cars and the tyres.

"It is good for us that the car is very good for tyres, usually, so I don't see any problems. But it is going to be a bigger challenge here than it was in the first race."

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