Todt Predicts Close Battle for Pole Position

Ferrari's sporting director is expecting a very close qualifying session tomorrow after his drivers were outpaced by the McLaren duo of Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard in opening practice for the Belgian Grand Pix.

Todt Predicts Close Battle for Pole Position

Ferrari's sporting director is expecting a very close qualifying session tomorrow after his drivers were outpaced by the McLaren duo of Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard in opening practice for the Belgian Grand Pix.

"As usual on Friday, our work was centred on Sunday's race, which takes place on what is a lovely circuit," said the Frenchman. "From the results of today's free practice, we can see that some of our rivals are looking very strong. Tomorrow, we can expect a very close fight for the top positions on the grid.

"As is always the case, tyres will play a vital role. As far as we are concerned, we are confident we can qualify well."

Ferrari, who sealed their fourth successive constructors' title in Hungary two weeks ago, had lapped in a league of their own during the first truncated session but were outperformed by McLaren in the second.

However, lap times mean little this early in the weekend, with the teams concentrating on various aspects of set-up before Saturday's qualifying.

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello was fastest in the morning but he spun out in the afternoon and was left as a spectator in the final minutes. He ended up fourth fastest in a session with little incident.

Michael Schumacher, who clinched his record-equalling title in France last month and could become the first driver to win 10 races in a season this weekend, wound up third quickest. The Ferrari driver praised the changes to the Spa circuit.

"We managed to make significant improvements to the car's set-up during the day and the car feels good," said the German. "It is handling well on this track and I feel confident about the work we have done today. I think the modifications to the Bus Stop chicane work well.

"We used to take it flat out, using the kerbs and risking damage to the suspension and tyres, just before going flat through Eau Rouge. To my mind the modifications are therefore good from a safety point of view."

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