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Schumacher Hoping to Close Gap

World Champion Michael Schumacher is hopeful his Ferrari team will manage to close the gap to McLaren following Friday's practice for the Turkish Grand Prix

The German, however, sounded less than optimistic after he had a difficult first day at the new Istanbul circuit.

"If you look at the times at the moment I have to say the gap is quite big, so if you see those gaps then at the moment you cannot expect a lot," said Schumacher. "But for sure we will work very hard.

"We will have a lot of homework to do but I think over the course of the weekend the gap will close and the situation will become more even. Our situation is difficult, it is not only because it is a Friday. In some of the corners we don't have enough grip and we slide too much."

Seven times champion Schumacher and Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello spun off in the first hour of action on the undulating anti-clockwise layout.

Schumacher finished the day in 13th place, over 2.5 seconds off the pace, with Barrichello down in 15th. Despite the times, Schumacher admitted he enjoys the circuit.

"It is a nice track, a unique circuit and a success," he said. "All in all it is really interesting to drive. I would not compare it to Spa but it certainly has its strengths, its own qualities. Turn one is one of those points where you are driving blind, you cannot see.

"There is still a lot of dust beside the racing line because it is a very new track. It is one of the more demanding tracks. It is not that difficult to learn and I do not think it is an advantage to have simulated it as a driver or driven it before.

"We have a team simulation but I had not done it on a video game before I came here."

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