Schumacher admits to 'average' lap

Michael Schumacher has admitted that his performance in the final qualifying session for the US Grand Prix was "very average." The championship leader will start tomorrow's (Sunday's) race seventh on the grid, behind both his closest title challengers, Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya

Schumacher admits to 'average' lap

Like many in the field Schumacher, who lost a lot of running time in practice this morning with a mechanical problem on his car, was caught out by changing track conditions that left his Ferrari with very little grip.

"This was a very average qualifying session for me today and naturally, I am not at all satisfied with the way it went," said Schumacher. "I am not clear what was going on, but the car was sliding too much and I could not find any grip. I will be interested to see what strategy the others have adopted for the race.

"In terms of the championship, my closest rival is only three places ahead of me, so this is not a disaster and so, with Kimi on pole the title race is a bit more open now. The important thing is to understand what went wrong this afternoon."

Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn blamed wind for upsetting the balance on Schumacher's car, but reckoned both the German and Montoya took a cautious approach with the championship in mind.

"We saw how much the battle for the title can influence performance in qualifying," said Brawn. "Certainly, Michael and Montoya cannot afford to take risks which might then compromise their race, so it is natural that they adopted a slightly cautious approach. Michael was not totally happy with the balance of his car.

"I think the situation will be different in tomorrow's race. Our tyres seem good and we would not be displeased if it was to rain tomorrow."

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