Thursday June 14th, 2001
World champion Michael Schumacher has played down his brother Ralf's chances in the 2001 championship despite a dominant second win at the Canadian Grand Prix last Sunday.
Having scored his first career win at the San Marino Grand Prix earlier this year, the younger Schumacher was the class of the field in Canada, finishing the race 20 seconds ahead of his brother, who leads the championship by 18 points over McLaren's David Coulthard and 36 over Ralf.
Despite the BMW-Williams strong package, the Ferrari driver believes Ralf's inconsistency will not allow him to fight for the title in 2001, but the German champion admitted things can change in the future.
"Ralf has a good package and he's in a car which can win." Schumacher was quoted as saying by Autosport.com. "But it still has too many ups and downs to be consistent enough to win the championship. That's why David is my main rival.
"He can still win this season when everything is just right. But it's not going to affect my fight for the championship. In the future, maybe it will be different."
Ralf has scored 22 points so far this season, having finished only three of the eight Grands Prix completed.
Schumacher also admitted he knows he has plenty of hard work ahead to win his fourth title.
"If you remember last year when I got back from Canada everybody talked about it being done," said Schumacher. "That was with more points than now and we saw after Montreal what could happen. It is important to have the points but it is not a finished position."