Schuey Snr 'surprised' by pace in qualifying battle

Michael Schumacher admitted that he surprised himself as he cruised to pole in Montreal by a massive margin of over half a second. But the Ferrari driver reckoned his advantage will not last into the race come Sunday.

Schuey Snr 'surprised' by pace in qualifying battle

The championship leader starts from the very front for the sixth time in eight races and for the sixth time at a circuit where he has won three times in four years, and a record four times in all.

His brother Ralf starts alongside him for the second time this year, while title rival David Coulthard is third, beside Jarno Trulli.

The German had taken top spot 29 minutes into the session and then sliced another four-tenths off his time with 10 minutes remaining to secure his first-place start.

"The size of the margin was a big surprise," admitted Schumacher. "After the way it was yesterday I didn't expect it to be that big.

"The other guys didn't seem to take advantage of new tyres - but that doesn't mean it will continue in the race because we won't always have new tyres. The car is as good as it can be in race conditions, but nothing is ever perfect. There are a few issues still to sort and I am looking to improve more in the warm-up."

After the Sauber of Nick Heidfeld crashed in the final minutes of qualifying, a clutch of F1 cars all lined up in the pit lane, ready to fly out of the pits when the session restarted. Schumacher, however, stayed in his garage as both McLarens made a last minute bid for pole. While David Coulthard managed to move up into third place, Mika Hakkinen couldn't improve his time and will start from eighth.

"I knew it would be a mess to go out there and it was," said Schuamcher. "I thought I'd rather watch on television because it would be more interesting - and it was."

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