Schu bros admit China reward

The Schumacher brothers, front row starters for the Japanese Grand Prix, both admitted that they owe their grid positions, in part, to a relatively poor performance in the Chinese Grand Prix a fortnight ago

Schu bros admit China reward

A year ago Michael, attempting to clinch his sixth world title, was given a tough afternoon at Suzuka when the anomalies of the F1 qualifying system meant that he started 14th. This time the system, whereby the finishing order at the previous race dictates the order in pre-qualifying at the following race, worked in Michael's favour. Twelfth out in the first session as the circuit dried, he was able to convert that into the penultimate slot for the all-important qualifying lap as the circuit dried still further.

"I was later out in the first session than Rubens, then second last car out for qualifying and the car and tyres worked perfectly," he said.

Initially it looked like the Bridgestone cars could have a tough task. At Spa, when the circuit was damp, the Ferraris had been quick in the first two sectors, with good grip, but lost out under braking for the Bus Stop chicane. It looked like a similar situation was happening at Suzuka when Barrichello was quick in the first two sectors but lost time under braking for the final chicane on a damp surface. Schumacher was expecting to face similar problems but, crucially, the surface dried enough and he was able to set the quickest sector three time.

"Having damp conditions doesn't help us normally," Schumacher said, "but they weren't bad. I actually thought I would have picked up more time in sectors one and two, but I'm not complaining!"

Brother Ralf, half a second adrift, added: "I was a bit late onto the brakes at the last chicane but I didn't lose too much time. Thanks to David (Coulthard, who took him off in China), I was 17th to run in the first session, which put me in a great position!"

Surprisingly, Schumacher confirmed that Bridgestone was able to glean enough information from the data of wet running on Friday to make a confident dry tyre choice for the race.

"Bridgestone obviously has a lot of information about this circuit and it wasn't difficult to make what we think will be the right choice," he said.

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