Schumacher: Ferrari still 'working its butt off'

Michael Schumacher has dismissed talk that Ferrari eased up on its development programme after winning the first three Grands Prix of the season

Schumacher: Ferrari still 'working its butt off'

After a mid-season run of victories by Mika Hakkinen and McLaren, the German trails the Finn by six points, with four races and a maximum of 40 points up for grabs.

"It is stupid to say we took it easy after the victories in the first GPs and that we only woke up now," he blasted. "It's unfair to everyone at Ferrari, where we work our butts off."

Schumacher has also denied that McLaren has suddenly negated Ferrari's early-season performance advantage - by claiming that the Italian team never actually had the edge.

"We never really had a performance advantage," he said. "We had a points advantage, but we were never really that much faster than the McLaren-Mercedes, if at all."

Despite Hakkinen's record of three wins and two seconds in the last five Grands Prix, including beating Schumacher in a head-to-head battle at Spa last time out, the Ferrari ace remains bullish on his chances of closing the six-point gap to the reigning world champion.

"Sure, I was disappointed in Belgium, but as soon as you make some progress in testing you get new energy," he said. "There is no doubt that we are behind, but the gap is not too big to be closed."

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