Saturday June 23rd, 2001
McLaren's David Coulthard was left in awe of Michael Schumacher's qualifying performance at the Nurburgring and also questioned whether he will ever close the gap on the Ferrari man.
Ferrari driver Schumacher stormed to his seventh pole position of the season and Coulthard admitted that he is unlikely to close the gap on the German, who he claims has the perfect package.
"All year Ferrari have been strong at getting the performance out of their tyres," Coulthard said after qualifying fifth on the grid. "There is not a lot we can do overnight but we are relatively better with full fuel on board so we are not so far away in race conditions.
"Ferrari more often than not get the performance out of the tyres and that's where we need to improve. The gap to the Ferraris is quite large and the question is can we do enough to close it.
"The combination of Michael Schumacher, the car, and the tyres are extracting a lot out of the qualifying set-up. I am not happy. It's not good. We have to be able to capitalise when we are strong and we haven't."
He added: "We can gain places and we can get on the podium but a win would be difficult if everybody keeps running. The race isn't over but the ball is in Ferrari's court."
Finn Mika Hakkinen, however, refused to rule out the chance of landing his first victory of the season despite ending qualifying as the sixth quickest driver. He has scored just eight points this season, but believes his third place finish in Canada two weeks ago will be the turning point of his disappointing season.
"I had expected much more," Hakkinen said of qualifying. "Simply coming out of the slow speed corners we lost lots of time. I think the engineers did the maximum and that was all we could get today.
"I was eighth in Canada and finished third so starting sixth there's a good chance I could win it."