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Schumacher chasing Senna record 19 May 2005

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, 6 May 2005 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari F2005.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, 6 May 2005 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren at the Steinmetz diamond presentation.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Preparations, Monte Carlo, Monaco, 18 May 2005 Race winner Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren Mercedes MP4/20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race Day, Barcelona, Spain, 8 May 2005 Race winner, Ayrton Senna (BRA) Lotus 99T Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Monaco, 31 May 1987. World © Sutton

Michael Schumacher comes to Monaco confident that he and Ferrari can challenge for victory. If he succeeds, he can match the record of six Monte Carlo wins set by the late Ayrton Senna.

“We have all been working very hard to create a tyre to suit this unusual track,” the champion said yesterday, “and I am sure that we will be in good shape.”

Hiroshi Yasukawa, Bridgestone’s director of motorsport, admits that Spain was a disappointment, and said of Monte Carlo: “This is a unique venue for a grand prix and one that holds considerable prestige. It does pose some logistical challenges but that is part of the character of this event. Rubens took a podium place last year for Ferrari and Bridgestone and after a lot of hard work from our technical personnel recently, we are hoping he and Michael can push for top honours.”

Hisao Suganuma says that the new regulations whereby cars must qualify and race on one set of tyres means it is unlikely that we will see compounds that are as soft as they have been in previous years, and explained that during the event the front tyres tend to grain in the early stages but that wear becomes higher at the rear as the race progresses.

While Schumacher is quietly confident, Kimi Raikkonen is just quiet, but the Spanish Grand Prix victor is well placed to repeat that feat here. “I think after the first few races, when we got under way, we had some difficulties and some bad luck,” he said. “But we got some new parts when we came to Europe and it has since improved a lot, especially in the last race when we got a new engine again. I think we’re starting to get more and more parts all the time and if we can keep it up we can improve the car all the time.”

A close second here two years ago, Raikkonen likes Monaco. “It is not very easy but last year, with the car we had, which wasn’t very good, we did quite well until we had an engine problem. I would say that I am feeling okay, I’m pretty confident. I think this is the best car that I have had around here. Looking at last year, how well we did with that car, I think we should be okay but it’s always going to be a difficult weekend and you need to get everything right before you can be really quick.”

The problem is that what works well in Barcelona need not necessarily be quick round Monte Carlo because of the different nature of the tracks, and Raikkonen was quick to concede that Renault’s renowned traction will stand them in good stead here.

Raikkonen also had good words for Schumacher.

“I think if you put the same Michelin tyres on that car they would be at the front end again. I think they have some problems with their tyres, but they can as easily find some new tyres for this race and they can win a race.”