US Grand Prix: Michael upbeat, Ralf downbeat

18th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

18 June 2004, INDIANAPOLIS - Michael Schumacher hopes to stay in seventh heaven a little longer while his brother Ralf has little hope to reverse his fortunes at the United States Grand Prix on Sunday.

18 June 2004

INDIANAPOLIS - Michael Schumacher hopes to stay in seventh heaven a little longer while his brother Ralf has little hope to reverse his fortunes at the United States Grand Prix on Sunday.

Michael Schumacher got a historic seventh victory at one race in last Sunday's Canadian GP in Montreal, which also marked his seventh season win and the 77th of the Ferrari driver's illustrious career.

Ralf was disqualified from second place along with Williams-BMW team-mate Juan-Pablo Montoya, who originally finished fifth, because the team used illegal brake ducts.

Now comes Indianapolis to complete the North American double- header: Friday's practice on the 4.192 km track, Saturday's qualifying and the race over 73 laps for 306.016 km on Sunday.

"After such a great race in Montreal you travel to Indianapolis with an extra special feeling," said Michael Schumacher, who has won twice there.

The 35-year-old can take another step towards his seventh world title with another win. Schumacher commands the world championship standings with 70 points from eight races ahead of Barrichello and BAR-Honda driver Jenson Button, who has 44.

Michael Schumacher said he expected Williams to rebound from Sunday's disaster and also expected another good showing from BAR.

"I believe that Ralf and BAR will be very strong there, but I believe that we will be very strong as well," said Schumacher.

Ralf, for his part, failed to finish in Indianapolis the past two years, but at least has found his humour again after the Montreal trauma.

"I can't promise a victory but what I can promise is that we have new air ducts for the brakes," joked the 28-year-old.

But his overall outlook was pessimistic: "I have the feeling that Indianapolis doesn't really like me. I am still waiting for success there. The last two years were frustrating."

Team-mate Montoya has a special affinity for Indianapolis as he raced CART in the US for two seasons and won the Indy 500 in 2000.

"I'll get to see some good friends again while I'm in Indy and I am sure there will be several Colombian flags around too. I consider this race to be a home race for me since I lived in the US for a while," the Colombian said.

Apart from the disqualification, Williams hope to build on the Montreal showing, which in itself was their best season result and also included Ralf Schumacher's pole position.

They badly need to pick up points as Montoya languishes in sixth place in the drivers standings with 24 points and Ralf in seventh position with 12 points.

Even worse off are the other Anglo-German team, McLaren-Mercedes, with David Coulthard in 10th place with seven points and Kimi Raikkonen 12th with five points.

Indianapolis will likely mark their last race with the 2003 car, as this year's model is set to make its debut 4 July in France - amid big hopes for improvement in what has so far been a very poor season.

Another German, Timo Glock, is not expected to race again after finishing seventh in his debut race in Canada for Jordan, who reportedly will rely on regular starter Giorgio Pantano again.

DPA

Subject: German news

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