Ferrari enthused by pace but still cautious

Michael Schumacher took provisional pole position for the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola on Sunday, and although the result is largely insignificant because grid positions are decided by tomorrow's qualifying session, the world champion was pleased to be at the top end of the list of again. Indeed it was a great tonic for the Ferrari team, which sealed the front row with Rubens Barrichello's second fastest time

Ferrari enthused by pace but still cautious

Schumacher and Ferrari have had a poor start to the 2003 season, the German has registered only a fourth and a sixth place finish out of three races so far. It has led to speculation in some areas of the press that the Italian team's competitiveness is on the wane - something Ferrari robustly denies.

Indeed the team delayed the debut of its new F2003-GA until the Spanish Grand Prix in two weeks time, so confident is it of the F2002's continuing pace.

"At the moment things are going the right way," said Ferrari team principal Jean Todt, "but we should not get carried away with the theoretical all-red front row. The results of the session confirm the potential of the F2002."

Schumacher certainly believes that he can win this weekend: "We thought we could get this result, but the opposition, particularly Williams, is very close. We think we have a good car for the rest of the weekend and I think it is capable of winning.

"We always knew that Malaysia and Brazil would be difficult for us, as has been the case last year. Back then, we came to Imola and had the upper hand. For the moment, it seems to be the case this year too. Given our experience with the F2002, racing it here seems to have been a good decision so far."

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