Schumacher Predicts Close Race

World Champion Michael Schumacher tipped his Ferrari team to run their rivals close in this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix despite setting a disappointing 16th fastest time in the final session of the day on Friday

Schumacher Predicts Close Race

Schumacher believes his team will prove to be on the pace with their rivals after claiming that there is much to be read into tyre and fuel strategies from the opening day of running at Sepang.

"It is hard to say (where we are) ­ but looking at Renault, McLaren and the others I don't think we are too bad," said Schumacher. "Looking and Rubens' times and my times it is going to be very, very close.

"I had most of the work to do today and everything went well on my programme. We did a full tyre assessment and it has all gone quite well. I am very happy with what we have done today.

"Here you have to be very careful and look at things like tyres and fuel ­ and (the modified F2004 car) may be an old lady, but she is still looking pretty good and pretty fast to me."

Schumacher said Ferrari had not been hampered by his teammate Rubens Barrichello's early spin in the second session which forced the Brazilian to complete less than ten laps in the hour of running.

He insisted that despite the intense heat, which saw track temperatures reach up to 55 degrees Celsius by the end of the session and made the track extremely slippery, he is not concerned about the climatic conditions.

"It is clear that the old tyres are not that much faster but I am not worried about tyres here," he said. "Everything seems to be alright and I am not worried by the engine either.

"We were carefully checking the temperatures and didn't see anything we felt we had to seriously worry about at all. But the track is very, very slippery but I think that is just because of the temperatures and the heat.

"It is very hot, and when you have 50 degrees track temperature or more it really makes it slippery for the tyres and that is why you had a lot of spins and incidents."

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Mick Schumacher
Author Will Gray
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