Heikki Kovalainen thinks relaxing more could help him get closer to the performance of his teammate and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton in 2009.

Heikki Kovalainen thinks relaxing more could help him get closer to the performance of his teammate and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton in 2009.

The Finn, 27, won his first grand prix in Hungary last year, but he ultimately finished the championship just seventh, 45 points shy of the British occupant of the other McLaren.

"I think I put perhaps too much expectation on myself, and sometimes I was too hard on myself if I didn't get the pole position or didn't win the race," he said at the launch of the new MP4-24 last week.

"I don't believe there are any magic tricks or any special area that I really need to improve. I hope we can improve every area and the results should be better."

One trick, however, could be learning to relax more, as well as drawing on more self-confidence, Kovalainen admits.

"I don't think I have to take all the blame on myself," he said. "If I have one session where I don't think I have maximised everything then I am not going to get stressed about it."

Kovalainen was also held back last year by usually qualifying with more fuel than Hamilton, technical problems with his 2008 contender, his heavy Barcelona crash and other incidents.

"I think first of all I have to finish more races," he acknowledged, but Kovalainen also believes his season of experience should now stand him in good stead for 2009.

"Hopefully I can give better instructions and better direction for the team, the engineers and the designers, about what I need from the car.

"This year hopefully we can turn things around and hopefully I can have a stronger year," he added.

 

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