Schumacher wants to fight

Michael Schumacher has thrown down the gauntlet to arch rivals McLaren to race him to the end of the season

Schumacher wants to fight

The double champion has raced away to a huge lead after winning both of the opening rounds in Australia and Brazil.

But as he attempts to do the hat-trick in Imola on Sunday he says he doesn't want to walk away with the championship.

"I would love to race McLaren to the end of the season to really see what is the situation between the two teams. We haven't really seen that to the full extent yet."

"What we can say is both cars are competitive and close to each other, so we will see who is the winner at the end of the day.

"Obviously it is enough just to be a little bit in front at the finish."

Already nursing a 20 point lead he admitted: "Our points position and our position in the championship couldnt be much better."

"Everything is pretty good except we lost one car [Barrichello in Brazil] which was not necessary as it turned out to be a minor fault.

McLaren go to the opening round of the European season on Ferrari's home turf at Imola in Italy still looking to pick up their first points.

World champion Mika Hakkinen has led twice and started from pole twice but failed to finish either race.

Teammate David Coulthard retired at the head of the field in Melbourne and on Tuesday was disqualified on appeal from second place in Sao Paulo because his front wings were illegal.

But as he prepared to attempt the hat-trick on Ferraris home ground in Italy. the German appeared to be more worried about his footballing form than his rivals on the track.

"Yesterday was the first time I have played properly since my injury and we won 2-1," he said.

"I played well but missed four beautiful opportunities which makes me a little but upset - but I'll keep trying."

He played alongside Benetton star Giancarlo Fisichella and admitted: "He was the star of the show. He scored. "

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