Nick Heidfeld insists he is not feeling under any extra pressure to perform at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, despite his troubled first outing for Renault in Australia.
The German failed to make it out of Q1 in Melbourne, and his race chances were effectively over after a first lap collision with Sebastien Buemi badly damaged his right-hand sidepod area. But after teammate Vitaly Petrov scored his first podium finish, Heidfeld says he does not feel under added stress to deliver a good result immediately.
"There is always talk about pressure in F1, but I have been in F1 for so long," he said in Sepang. "I make pressure for myself yes, but I don't really worry about anything else.
"The most important thing is that the car is quick. Vitaly was able to score a podium with a good race, not just being lucky, but having a good race and a good strategy. So on one side it makes it even more difficult to swallow that result – because you know what would be possible. But on the other side it is a huge motivation for the rest of the season and this weekend.
"Honestly, I cannot wait to finally get started again. Unfortunately there were two weeks between the two races, as I would have liked to have had one week and get going again."
Despite Renault's strong start to the season, Heidfeld does not think the team can expect to automatically be the leading challengers of Red Bull Racing and McLaren again.
"I think Mercedes were a bit unhappy with their result, as they believe they have a bit more in the pocket, so let's see if they unfold everything they have here.
"McLaren, I think, could have been even better, at least with Jenson if he did not have the drive-through. So they made a huge leap forward compared to testing, and it might be that there is the possibility for them to find more lap time rather quickly, because I think they went from a bad car to something that was quite good. And also Ferrari also find it difficult to predict if they will be better here or not, as I think they struggled a lot with tires in Australia."