Schumacher Unconcerned by Poor Start

World Champion Michael Schumacher is optimistic of a good result in tomorrow's final qualifying despite finishing down in ninth position in the opening session for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Schumacher Unconcerned by Poor Start

World Champion Michael Schumacher is optimistic of a good result in tomorrow's final qualifying despite finishing down in ninth position in the opening session for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver, who has not won a race since the Canadian Grand Prix back in June, continued to languish and was a whole second off the pace. Schumacher, however, saw his Championship rivals also struggle for pace.

Juan Pablo Montoya, runaway winner of the last race in Germany three weeks ago, was eighth, while Finland's Kimi Raikkonen, third in the Championship and nine points behind Schumacher, had a disappointing session and claimed 12th slot in his McLaren.

"At the start, when it was my turn to do my run, the track was very dirty, partly because of the cars which ran on track in between free practice and qualifying," said Schumacher. "All in all, the result is not too bad, especially in terms of the battle for the title.

"In fact, my main rivals are pretty close to me. Therefore ninth spot can still be good for tomorrow. I am confident for the rest of the weekend and I think that overall, the situation is better than the one we experienced in Hockenheim."

Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello enjoyed a better session, setting the fifth quickest time although more than half a second off the pace set by Renault's Jarno Trulli. Barrichello, however, said there was more speed in the Ferrari.

"We did not exploit all of the car's available potential, but a place in the top five today puts me in a good position to fight for a front row place on the grid tomorrow. In qualifying, the balance of the car was very different to the way it was in free practice this morning.

"In the end, my quick lap wasn't too bad, although I had a lot of oversteer. We still need to work on the car set-up. The track was very dirty, especially on the new part of the circuit."

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