Heikki Kovalainen is feeling optimistic ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix - and after scoring points for the sixth race in a row in Belgium the Finn has every reason to be upbeat.

Despite getting into the points at Spa-Francorchamps though, Kovalainen wasn't overly happy, simply because he reckoned his Renault R27 was quicker than he managed to show in the grand prix.

"I fought for every lap and didn't miss any opportunities, but we could have done better than eighth," he explained.

"But there were positives to take from the weekend primarily that our pure pace seemed to have improved. That's why I'm feeling optimistic for the final three races, and particularly Japan, which is a new circuit for most of the drivers.

"The Japanese fans are without a doubt the best of the whole season: very enthusiastic, always kind and they will wait for hours to see you at the hotel or the circuit.

"Even last year when I wasn't a race driver, I was amazed by how many people recognised me or stopped me for autographs. It really puts you in a good mood, and makes you want to race well for them."

Asked if he is he disappointed though not to be going to Suzuka, a track that was always one of the drivers' favourites, Heikki was philosophical about the switch to Fuji, which will share the honour of hosting the Japanese GP from 2009.

"Times change, Formula 1 changes, and that's part of life," he added.

"Like Monza and Spa, Suzuka was a really challenging circuit, for the drivers and the car.

"This year's race, though, is at Fuji, which is a track I already know a little bit about after doing a promotional event for our partners here last year.

"The circuit includes a long straight of around 1.5 km, and I think that the aero level will be a very important thing to calculate well. There are also some sequences of medium- and slow-speed corners, particularly the last five corners which are all in second gear.

"So we will be working hard to find the right aero compromise, and also to get good mechanical grip in the slow sections.

"In terms of overtaking opportunities, turn 1 is probably the most obvious one, with a lot of passing. I am really looking forward to racing there. I think it will make for good racing, which will be good for all the Japanese supporters," he summed-up.

 

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