Hakkinen: 'It will be tough'

Mika Hakkinen forecast a tough battle for victory in Spain as he was bumped off pole for the second race in succession by a Ferrari

Hakkinen: 'It will be tough'

The Finn had set the fastest lap early in qualifying only to be ousted from top spot in the last 18 minutes of qualifying by Michael Schumacher. In the race before at Silverstone it was Rubens Barrichello who started on pole.

Although Hakkinen went almost three tenths qucker on his very last lap it was not enough to reclaim pole.

"The car does deserve to be on pole, but we did not get a 100 per cent clear run in the entire session until the last run - so didn't get the opportunity to make the best of it," said Hakkinen.

"I am still confident we can do well here," he said. "Starting from the front row gives me confidence for tomorrow's race."

"Its going to be heavy - really difficult. Our car is not an easy car to drive. It's physically a very demanding car to drive.

"This race is going to be very, very difficult.

"I am happier with the car today, but we are not 100 per cent there yet - at least we made good progress during the day".

Qualifying was held in sweltering midday heat as track temperatures hoverred around 29 degrees, before dropping dramatically in the final minutes.

"The cooling track temperatures did not affect the car," explained Hakkinen

"I did my best time on my last run, but it's all about technique here. Of course, the conditions influence things a lot, but it's to do with technique. I learned a few things in the session and applied them in that final run.

"I aborted one run because it was not a good lap and not worth continuing."

The World Champion is chasing a 22-point deficit to Michael Schumacher, who has won three of the first four races and now starts from pole in a circuit McLaren use for most of their winter testing.

The Finn has not won a race since the final round of last year's championship that handed him the title for the second time.

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