Schumacher: F2005 Better than Expected

Michael Schumacher says his Ferrari F2005 is faster than he had expected following the first qualifying session for the Bahrain Grand Prix

Schumacher: F2005 Better than Expected

"It is a bit more promising than I had expected," said Schumacher of the car, "because after Malaysia, seeing the gaps, which were quite significant, we haven't done a comparison of the old and new cars, the time wasn't there, so you only go for your feelings and they were good but I don't know how good, where it puts you.

"Such a big gap knowing from Malaysia, you don't expect that the new car can make up everything, but it made up most of it."

Seven-times World Champion Schumacher raised Ferrari's flagging spirits with third place in the first qualifying for the team's new car. The decisive final session is on Sunday, with grid positions decided by aggregate times.

Schumacher's performance, on a hot and windy afternoon with track temperatures of 54 degrees Celsius, boosted a team used to dominating but now playing catch-up after their old car proved way off the pace in Malaysia.

Winners of 15 of last year's 18 Grands Prix, Ferrari have rushed their new F2005 into action two races ahead of schedule to try and limit Renault's early advantage.

"Malaysia was a bit of a wake-up call for us," said Schumacher. "It was a great effort from everybody in the team to get the new car pushed forward to this Grand Prix...it was really needed and it paid out.

"We are feeling quite good," said the German.

While the decision clearly paid off for Schumacher, Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello limped through the session with a patched-up gearbox after a failure on Friday forced him to miss three practice sessions, and was 15th.

Ferrari are flying out a new gearbox for his car and will have about two hours to install it on Sunday morning before the final qualifying.

"Qualifying was a shot in the dark, given that I had only done a few laps yesterday morning," said Barrichello. "But all things considered, it was not too bad."

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