Friday May 4th, 2001
Michael Schumacher sees Mika Hakkinen as his main rival for this year's Formula One title, despite the Finn having scored just four points so far.
"There is still a long way to go in the championship and with 12 races remaining, anything is possible," world champion Schumacher said at a Ferrari test session on Friday. "Mika can get back into the game and, as I have always said, I still regard him as my main rival. We will have to see what happens in the next two or three races."
Schumacher leads the title race with 36 points, eight clear of Hakkinen's British team mate David Coulthard. The Ferrari driver won the last Spanish Grand Prix after Hakkinen's car expired with an exploding clutch half way around the last lap while the Finn was comfortably ahead.
Two-times champion Hakkinen has not won a race since August last year and his motivation had been questioned before Barcelona as Coulthard made his most decisive start to a season yet.
Schumacher also rejected suggestions that Ferrari were fighting problems with their reliability after difficulties in the last two races for both him and team mate Rubens Barrichello, who had a broken rear right suspension.
"Seen from outside it could give the impression that we have reliability problems but I can tell you that is not the case," said Schumacher. "What happened in Barcelona was different to the problem we had in Imola and has already been sorted out. I believe it will not happen again."