Williams: We could have won this race

Williams was highly encouraged by its showing in the German Grand Prix, with chief operations engineer Sam Michael claiming that with a modicum of good fortune, Ralf Schumacher could have won the race

Williams: We could have won this race

Schumacher Jr pushed his brother hard for pole position and seemed to have the legs of Juan Pablo Montoya all weekend. He was on course to finish second until an unscheduled pit visit four laps from the end, to put air into the engine's pneumatic valve system, dropped him behind Montoya.

"Obviously the air problem meant that he would not win today," said Michael. "But I think the race really showed what a difference being on pole would have been. If we had been, then we would have been ahead of Michael for the first few laps and then we would have got stronger throughout the stint. We got held up at that first pit stop and without it I think we could have got ahead."

Ralf and Williams ran two laps longer than Michael and Ferrari before the first pit stop, but Schumacher Jr lost crucial time lapping Jarno Trulli and then behind Jacques Villeneuve, who was touring into the pits to retire when Ralf arrived behind him. Once the Ferrari and Williams were both back up to speed, Michael led by 3.9s, so without Ralf's problems it would have been a close run thing.

"Also, I had understeer on my first set of tyres but the second set was better and, in fact, we didn't risk destroying the balance by changing them at the second stop," said Ralf.

Ralf also suffered a communications problem with the Williams lollipop man at that second stop, which lost him a little more time. "If I look at the problems I had today, I should be happy to have finished third," he added.

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