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Schumacher Forced to Scrap for Points

Michael Schumacher is looking forward to get more sleep on Sunday morning but holds out little hope of winning anything more than a few points in the European Grand Prix later in the day

The seven-times World Champion could only manage to put his Ferrari in 10th place on the grid in the single qualifying session at the Nurburgring on Saturday.

While last season Schumacher won from pole to claim his fifth Formula One career victory at the circuit closest to his childhood home, this year he anticipates scrapping it out from behind.

"We knew before we might have some difficulties in qualifying," he said. "So that's why we adapted and tried to concentrate on doing well for race. It could have been better but still quite content.

"I hope I can be more optimistic about the race than about qualifying. Once again we'll have to come up from behind.

"I think there's a chance to win some points, but reaching the podium might be difficult. You have to keep in mind where we're starting from."

Schumacher should draw confidence from his performance at Imola earlier in the season, where he started 13th on the grid before working his way up to challenge Fernando Alonso for the lead in a thrilling finish to the San Marino Grand Prix.

On Saturday, the 36-year-old found himself in the unusual position of being the lowest-ranked German at Nurburgring, behind his brother Ralf in eighth for Toyota and Nick Heidfeld of Williams, who grabbed pole.

Schumacher said he was delighted for Heidfeld.

"We've known each other for a long, long time. His performance this year has been first class," he said. Coming after his second place in Monaco you can only say congratulations to him."

As for Ralf, the pair were at loggerheads last weekend after Michael tried to force his Ferrari past his younger brother's Toyota in Monaco.

They made up in public on Thursday and Schumacher senior said he thought their close proximity on the grid would not be a problem.

"It'll be interesting, but it'll be a duel just like any other in the past," he said.

The Ferrari driver was equally dismissive of reports of a continuing rift with his Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello, also caused by an overtaking manoeuvre last week in Monaco.

"I know there are a lot of stories out there, but quite frankly, we're all calm and relaxed," he said. "In the past we've had far more difficult situations."

With the scrapping of Sunday morning's second qualifying session from this weekend, the drivers will have plenty of time on their hands before the race.

Schumacher knows exactly what he will do with that time.

"I'm going to sleep a little big longer," he said.

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