Motor Racing: Prost resumes normal service: Frenchman happy before home grand prix

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The Independent Online
ALAIN PROST would never be so presumptuous as to declare the world championship his already, but that is how others will interpret his assertion that he is back to his best.

The Frenchman, out of Formula One for more than a year before resuming with Williams- Renault this season, has a five- point lead over Ayrton Senna at the top of the drivers' standings despite an uncomfortable ride through the early races. He approaches his home grand prix here on Sunday, the half-way stage of the campaign, content that his form and composure are fully restored.

Prost said: 'I did not realise I would lose so much by taking a year off. You can test through the winter and put in the mileage, but it is not the same as racing and that is what I was missing. For instance, the problem I had in Brazil, where I was confused about when I should come into the pits, might not have happened. After seven races, everything is back to normal.'

The norm here is for Williams to win. Nigel Mansell did so last year and the year before. Prost has the means and now the confidence to repeat the victory.

Senna is due to be here after further negotiations with McLaren. He is said to be demanding pounds 1m a race, but may have lost some bargaining power with the announcement that Jean Alesi has signed a new two- year contract with Ferrari.