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Davidson is poles apart from Hamilton

india Updated: Mar 15, 2008 17:03 IST
Alan Baldwin

Britain's Anthony Davidson was poles apart from compatriot Lewis Hamilton at the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday, but no less happy for it.

While McLaren's Hamilton secured the seventh pole position of his already stellar Formula One career, Davidson qualified his Super Aguri at the very back of the grid in 22nd place for Sunday's season-opener.

Asked how his afternoon had gone, the 28-year-old replied with one word and a big grin: "Rubbish".

Just making it on to the starting grid without incident was enough to put a smile on the driver's face, with his team's future in doubt until a rescue deal was agreed last week and still short of spare parts.

"We are here now at the back of the grid by quite a long way but at this point we are just happy to be here," Davidson told Reuters.

"You don't normally come racing to make up the numbers but for this race we are here just to finish. That pretty much is our main goal.

"We are on the back foot for this one. We had a week and a half's notice before coming out here."

Davidson said the uncertainty had been hard to bear. While Hamilton could fly out to the Far East to acclimatise, his compatriot had sleepless nights, massive stress and a ringing in the ears.

To prepare for the heat of Australia and Malaysia, he had rigged up his racing bicycle in his living room at home and worked up a sweat by cranking up the central heating and pedalling away.

"I thought it was a good idea to stick my bike in the living room, pump up my music and turn up the radiators as well," he laughed. "I wasn't in my race suit but it was pretty hot.

"Mind you, I've been really good here in the heat so I think it's worked."

GAME OVER

Even from the back of the grid, Sunday's race will still be one of the most stressful of the Briton's Formula One career.

"If we crash the car or damage it in any way, we're not going to race it in Malaysia. That's how limited on parts we are," Davidson added.

"Basically, as you see the cars on the circuit - that's all we've got.

"Any damage that we incur here, whether its our fault or not, its going to be game over for the next race as well. It's really that tight. If its suspension, its going to be a car-stopper for the next race."

The car, derived from last year's ill-handling Honda, was also quite a handful.

"Unfortunately when you are slow there's a reason for it and it's because the car is hard to drive," he said.

"You watch the top guys and you see the onboard (footage) and you just feel like crying because it looks so easy, so goddamn easy.

"It just escalates all the time, you are always fighting a bigger problem than everyone else when you've got less grip and less downforce."

The situation should be better by Bahrain in April and back to normal for the return to Europe when Super Aguri hope to claw back some of the lost ground.

Davidson had faith that Saturday's situation, with Hamilton at the front and himself at the back, would not become a regular feature of the season - and not just due to a Ferrari resurgence at the top.

"We will improve the car," he said. "We are definitely going to climb up the field and be a thorn in some other teams' sides I'm sure pretty soon."