Barrichello Confident Ahead of Decisive Qualifying

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello is confident of a strong performance on Saturday after topping the timesheets in today's first qualifying session for the season opening Australian Grand Prix.

Barrichello Confident Ahead of Decisive Qualifying

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello is confident of a strong performance on Saturday after topping the timesheets in today's first qualifying session for the season opening Australian Grand Prix.

Ferrari's Barrichello took the honours today as Formula One experienced single-shot qualifying for the first time ahead of the race on Sunday. The Brazilian, on pole in Australia last year, lapped the Albert Park circuit faster than anybody else to ensure that he will run last in Saturday's decisive shoot-out for the front row slot.

"This was a very good day under the new rules and I am happy with the way things went," admitted the Brazilian. "This morning we worked on tyre choice and even if we did not have much running time on a clean track, I was optimistic for the afternoon.

"Being quickest on the first day of the season is a morale booster, even if it does not mean much. Tomorrow we will have to see what is the right strategy, but I am reasonably confident of going well."

World Champion Michael Schumacher wound up only fourth quickest more than half a second behind his teammate. The session started in 2002 championship order, with Schumacher first on the track, and the German five-time champion claimed it was a disadvantage as the track was very dirty.

"I felt a bit like a road-sweeping machine for all the other cars, cleaning the track, as I picked up all the dirt," said Schumacher. "It is obviously a disadvantage to be first on the road. In the end, Rubens did a very good lap and I did not. But tomorrow's session is the important one.

"It is too early for me to give an opinion on the new timetable for the weekend. I would have to wait for the end of this weekend to comment. But I can say I found it a bit strange doing one lap and then having to wait so long to find out what position I had."

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