Atlas F1 News Service

Schumacher Praises McLaren After Defeat

Sunday April 1st, 2001

Juan Montoya overtakes Michael Schumacher, todayMichael Schumacher accepted defeat as his six-race winning streak was ended in the Brazilian Grand Prix, and conceded that McLaren were the better team on the day.

McLaren's David Coulthard secured the 10th win of his career as he outdid Ferrari on tactics and Schumacher admitted the Scottish driver deserved the Interlagos win.

"Obviously I am slightly disappointed to some degree and they did a better job than we did," said Schumacher.

"The car was not working in the way I like it and I had a couple of offs which is unusual for me in these circumstances."

Schumacher was involved in an initial scrap with Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya, who came from fourth on the grid and passed him for the lead at the start of lap three.

The triple Formula One world champion admitted the Williams driver was impossible to re-pass and praised new-boy Montoya for the move.

"It was straightforward, but a tight one and it was well done," said Schumacher. "That's just what racing is all about.

"There was a stage when I knew I could not get by Montoya. He didn't make any mistakes and I had to settle where I was. He was very fast at this stage."

But that was not the end of the excitement for Schumacher, who regained the lead when Montoya was knocked out by Jos Verstappen's Arrows.

Schumacher spun his Ferrari in the wet, and the mistake allowed Coulthard to reduce his lead. The McLaren man made it past when the pair came upon a backmarker and the luck fell in favour of the Scot.

He said: "Initially the Minardi was on the left and I hoped it would stay there and I could go on the outside. I knew David was behind me but at the braking point it moved to the right and I didn't know if there was space so I slowed down.

"David took the right choice to go to the inside and I only had the outside available."

The move left Schumacher down in second and defeated for the first time in seven races. But his day was nowhere near as bad as team-mate Rubens Barrichello.

The Brazilian's race car stopped on its way to the grid with no fuel pressure, and his race was ended on lap two when he went into the back of Ralf Schumacher.

Barrichello runs back to the pits"It's something I've been asking myself, why do things happen to me," said Barrichello. "I keep thinking on the positive side but in 10 minutes everything went wrong for me.

"On the formation lap my car broke down, I had to run back to the pits and then had 30 minutes to get out on the grid. The mechanics did a fantastic job. The car was not perfect but it was comfortable.

"I brought my heartbeat down from 200 to 80, and then I saw on the right hand side that Ralf and a Jordan, I think, were coming my way and breaking. It took my by surprise.

"We talked about it in the briefing, are you allowed to change line? I was behind Ralf when he suddenly changed line and braked in front of me."

The race incident clearly enraged Barrichello, and he called for the FIA to improve the rules and prevent similar confusion in the future.

"I think we need to get a clear ruling from the FIA about how many times one can change line in these circumstances," he said.

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