Atlas F1 News Service

Schumacher Expects Close Qualifying

Friday August 17th, 2001

Michel Schumacher, today in HungaryWorld Champion Michael Schumacher has admitted he is expecting a very close qualifying session on Saturday after topping the timesheets in practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix today.

The German, who can win his fourth Championship on Sunday with four races to spare and also help Ferrari secure the constructors' title, was fastest on another hot afternoon at the Hungaroring. Meanwhile his McLaren rival David Coulthard was forced to sit out the second session having damaged his car in the morning.

Schumacher, who needs to extend his lead by three points to win the title on Sunday, played down the importance on today's times and said he was expecting a close qualifying at the tight and twisty track where overtaking is virtually impossible and where grid position could be crucial.

"If you look at the times, we are looking quite good today, but these times count for nothing in the long run," Schumacher said. "We know we are in a strong position and we should be competitive in terms of our package.

"We are still working on it to find the perfect solution, but we seem to be close to that point. As usual, the track was slippery here. If you look at the times of Rubens and Hakkinen, it is very close and I expect a similar situation tomorrow."

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello completed a perfect day for the Italian team, setting the second fastest time only 0.083 seconds behind his teammate.

"The car was very good today," admitted Barrichello. "Because of a small problem with the brakes, I was unable to do quite as many laps as I would have liked, but all in all, I am happy with the amount of data we have gathered. The track was very dirty and I also think they should do something about the kerb where Coulthard had his problem this morning."

Published at 13:30:58 GMT

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