Schumacher expecting 'tough race'

World Championship leader Michael Schumacher is anticipating a tough fight for victory in this weekend's German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, a track that is not expected to play to the strengths of Ferrari's F2003-GA chassis

Schumacher expecting 'tough race'

Although Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello won at Silverstone last time out, Hockenheim's circuit lay-out is much more tight and twisty, which could lead to a close fight between the Italian giant, BMW WilliamsF1 and McLaren this weekend.

"Last year I had the opportunity to come as newly-crowned world champion to Hockenheim and celebrate the title with the home crowd," said Schumacher. "It is clear that I can hardly come back and repeat this.

"This year, the race definitely looks a much tougher prospect than last season's and everyone at Ferrari is aware of that, but it is not an impossible task. Recently, we have made significant progress, so we feel well prepared. We can expect a very tough race.

Schumacher, who leads the championship standings by seven points from McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen with Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya a further seven points adrift, reckons that it is virtually impossible predict who will be the pace-setters before the race begins.

"Several times this year we have seen that the true performance level of the teams at various circuits has only been revealed over the course of the weekend," said Schumacher. "This applies particularly to those circuits where we do not usually test and Hockenheim is one of these, so we will have to wait and see what we can do. It can be considered as a track which is not particularly suited to the Ferrari, but of course we will be out to prove the opposite."

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