Schumacher's Chances Washed Away by Rain

by Julian Linden

Schumacher's Chances Washed Away by Rain

by Julian Linden

Michael Schumacher has virtually given up hope of winning Sunday's Australian Grand Prix after a freak storm ruined his chances of qualifying near the front of the grid.

The World Champion finished 18th in Saturday's first qualifying session after he was caught in a torrential downpour the moment he drove his Ferrari onto the Albert Park circuit.

Schumacher's time of 1:57.931 was almost 25 seconds behind Italian Giancarlo Fisichella, who managed to set the fastest flying lap just moments before the weather turned foul.

The only drivers to finish behind the German were Japan's Takuma Sato and Brazilian Felipe Massa, both of whom failed to complete their laps.

"All I can say about today is that we were unlucky. The weather has so often played in my favour that I can accept it was not the case this time," Schumacher said.

"I had seen the rain clouds approaching and I hoped they would stay away a bit longer but it didn't happen and we only just had enough time to fit the normal rain tyres when extreme wets would have been a better choice."

Although there is a second qualifying session on Sunday morning, Schumacher said he was too far behind to bridge the gap, regardless of the weather.

The seven times World Champion also conceded that his chances of winning the opening race of the season were virtually over and the best he was hoping for was to finish in the points.

"Obviously this result will impact greatly on the race. At the same time we will try and bring home some points or even something better," he said.

"I don't think a podium is out of the question but it will be very difficult. Who knows what the weather will bring tomorrow. The race is long and all we can do is try our best to remedy the situation."

Less Important

Schumacher's Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello was also caught in the rain, though the conditions were slightly better, and he finished 12th, just behind the McLaren pairing of Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya.

"It will be impossible to recover all the laptime we have lost today in tomorrow's session but we are still in good shape," Barrichello said.

"I think the new weekend format means that qualifying is less important in terms of its effect on the race and so I am still optimistic about our chances of getting a good result."

Ferrari team boss Jean Todt was also philosophical, saying luck had conspired against the Italian manufacturer and there was nothing they could do about it.

"The first qualifying session was turned into a lottery because of the changing weather conditions," Todt said. "Although there is a second session tomorrow, it is clear that today's result compromises our chances for the rest of the weekend.

"This state of affairs was down to chance and we can only accept the situation even though obviously we are not happy about it."

shares
comments
Sato Rues Qualifying Mistake

Previous article

Sato Rues Qualifying Mistake

Next article

Webber Rules Out Fighting Top Trio

Webber Rules Out Fighting Top Trio
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021