Toyota F1 driver for 2002 Allan McNish looks back at his rookie year in the premier category. Here he looks back at his second race of the season, the Malaysian Grand Prix.
"Well now that the season is over and I've had a chance to reflect on my first year in Formula One I thought I would share with you some of my thoughts and experiences as I joined the F1 'circus'.
"Looking back over the year there were definite highs and lows but overall I'm pleased with my performances as an F1 rookie and I hope to continue racing single-seaters for some time. News on my 2003 season will follow shortly!
"The good thing about Formula One is that there are 17 races in the calendar, taking place every couple of weeks so I was able to put the disappointment of Australia behind me immediately and concentrate on the Malaysian Grand Prix.
"As soon as we arrived both Mika and myself started working on our fitness training. The country is very humid and we had to acclimatise as quickly as we could. It's certainly a lot hotter than Scotland! We had tested in Malaysia during 2001 so we knew what to expect. By the time the qualifying session arrived we were working as a well-oiled machine, although we were the new kids on the block the team had rehearsed so many times and we all knew the race weekend routine.
"Sepang we reckoned would be a good circuit for the TF102, with its long straights and the tyres Michelin had brought, the forecast looked good. Unfortunately for me, qualifying was disrupted with a gearbox problem and I lined up a lowly 19th for the race.
"I was looking forward to the start of the Malaysian Grand Prix
as I was eager to actually get passed the first corner and race! Things worked out pretty well and I was able to overtake and had quickly moved up into the top ten. I was running in sixth prior to my pit-stop and felt my first points were within reach. It was a great disappointment to say the least that when I pitted there was some confusion in the pits as Mika had come in unexpectedly only 20 seconds before me.
"The team was surprised and as a result I was refueled but sent back out with used tyres. We lost time and position because of this and I finished the race in seventh – outside the points!I was pleased with my performance but extremely disappointed that I had missed out on scoring some points early in the season. Roll on Brazil."
Tomorrow read about McNish's experiences in Brazil in the third Grand Prix of the season.For more on Allan McNish go to his official website - www.allanmcnish.com