Ferrari Blame Trulli for Losing Second

Ferrari believe that Jarno Trulli's slow pace at the beginning of the French Grand Prix almost certainly cost Michael Schumacher the runner-up position at Magny-Cours on Sunday

Ferrari Blame Trulli for Losing Second

Schumacher got stuck behind the Toyota in the early stages of the race, which allowed race winner Fernando Alonso to open up a commanding lead at the front and helped eventual second-placed finisher Kimi Raikkonen keep in touch with the leading pack.

And it is the time cost in that stage of the race that the team believe proved so costly later on.

Technical director Ross Brawn said: "The first part of our race was spoilt being stuck behind Trulli. We were not competitive enough to win the race today, but Michael might have finished one place higher without that early delay."

Schumacher himself said: "I think third was the best I could have done today. It is true that I lost a lot of time stuck behind Trulli for eighteen laps and that meant that Montoya got past me. So, I had some problems with traffic. Without that early delay, our strategy might have put me ahead of Kimi."

Despite the Trulli factor, however, the team admitted that they were still struggling for ultimate pace in the race,

Brawn added: "Every time the drivers tried to push harder things became difficult. Rubens lost a lot of grip over the course of the race, whereas Michael's car was probably a bit better balanced and he was able to do better.

"All in all, we have to say we were not strong enough with either car. We have not given away too many points and we will keep trying to fight back."

Schumacher's third place finish was in contrast to Rubens Barrichello's disappointing run to ninth place, after losing time with brake problems.

"It was a terrible race for me," said the Brazilian. "After four or five laps, I began to have a problem with the brakes which meant the car was hard to drive. Then, in the first run of pit stops, I was unable to get ahead of Trulli and so I always found myself behind cars that were potentially slower than me.

"The brake problem got progressively worse and I kept slipping back so that I wasn't even able to pick up a single point. I am very disappointed."

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