Michelin rules on opening day

With the top seven cars on Michelin tyres in first qualifying at Hockenheim, and BMW Williams first and second, the home grand prix of Michael Schumacher appears to be a golden opportunity for his rivals to close the gap

Michelin rules on opening day

The Ferraris were a second off the Williams low-fuel qualifying pace at Hockenheim, with Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher the fastest Bridgestone runners in eighth and ninth places. But, it may be premature to write-off Ferrari's chances just yet.

Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn said: "We had good consistency in this morning's practice session and although we weren't quick enough this afternoon, I think we'll see consistency coming through in the race even if we don't qualify on the front row."

Track temperatures at Hockenheim were high, conditions that traditionally suit Michelin, and Renault driver Jarno Trulli, who was third quickest to the Williams-BMWs, reckoned that his car would do a 25-lap stint on a set of rubber with no problems.

Michelin Motorsport director Pierre Dupasquier said: "We had an excellent result today. I'm not expecting an easy race but we were able to do a series of endurance runs and we had no problems with wear rates."

Bridgestone technical manager Hisao Suganuma added: "Obviously there's some work to do yet for this weekend, but the track was still quite green this afternoon. There is some improvement in performance to come, which I'm sure we will find over the remaining practice sessions."

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