Schumacher Delighted with New Ferrari

World Champion Michael Schumacher was delighted after he gave Ferrari's new car a pace-setting debut in first qualifying today for the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix.

Schumacher Delighted with New Ferrari

World Champion Michael Schumacher was delighted after he gave Ferrari's new car a pace-setting debut in first qualifying today for the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix.

While impressive, with Schumacher set to take pole position for the fourth straight year at the Circuit de Catalunya, the F2003-GA's first competitive appearance was far from overwhelming.

Italian Jarno Trulli almost stole the five-time World Champion's thunder with the second best time for Renault, crossing the line just 0.019 of a second off Schumacher's time. The German, however, said the car had lived to his expectations and admitted he felt at home driving the new machine.

"I feel very comfortable in the car and after a good start, it means we can be confident for the rest of the weekend," said the five-time champion. "It is a nice feeling to be racing the new car and this provisional pole means that so far the car has lived up to our expectations.

"For the race, we can expect hot conditions which means the tyres will be sliding quite a bit, but we expect that here and have planned for it. Sitting in the cockpit of a race car at a Grand Prix again has been the best way to take my mind off the events of the Imola weekend."

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, driving the second Ferrari, was third quickest in the single lap session that dictates the start order for Saturday's decisive shootout when strategy as much as speed comes into play.

Barrichello was forced to use the spare car, set up for Schumacher, for his qualifying run after his racing machine suffered a water leak.

"My car ran perfectly this morning and felt good," said Barrichello. "I am just happy to have done a competitive time, because the settings on the spare car were very different to mine in terms of the seat and the position of the pedals.

"Actually, I have to say it was fun making the last minute switch! Hopefully tomorrow, the situation will be calmer and I will be able to do a better lap. I hope to be on pole."

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