Ferrari in good position
Malaysian GP - Ferrari - Qualifying Report

Michael Schumacher was forced to settle for third place on the grid for tomorrows Malaysian GP, the Ferrari ace missing out on the front row to the two Renault drivers, Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli. The German driver is not too concerned about his overall position, which will see him starting alongside McLaren driver David Coulthard, and he is genuinly pleased for the Renault team's accomplishment.

'First of all, I must thank the guys for doing such a good job to get my car ready, after I had a gearbox problem in the warm-up. There was no time to actually change settings, we just got it to work. I was happy with my lap and third was the best I could do today,” he said. “I do not want to take anything away from Renault's achievement, as they did a good job, but I hope we have the right strategy for the race, but will not know until tomorrow afternoon. As for the one lap qualifying, when I am on my flying lap, I do not think about the fact it is my only chance. I simply do the job. But with only having one chance, it does mean that if the car could not be fixed then I would have missed my chance to qualify. I am not bothered about my run of poles here being interrupted. Pole is a fantastic bonus, but the new rules mean you have to focus on the race.”

Teammate Rubens Barrichello will start from fifth place alongside the Sauber of Nick Heidfeld. The Brazilian was happy enough with the outcome of the day, knowing that his F2002 needs to be in top condition tomorrow if he intends to make it to the end of the event in the best position possible.

'It was a pretty normal day,” he said. “The car seems to be in very good shape for tomorrow's race. We worked with the race in mind, but that does not mean I wasn't pushing hard in qualifying. Tomorrow, it will be important to be patient to see how the situation evolves on the track and not to get involved in any possible hot moments at the start.'

“This afternoon's result, with one car on the second row and the other on the third, puts us in a good position for tomorrow's race,” added Jean Todt. “The new rules mean that a driver must qualify with the fuel load which he will use when forming up on the start grid for the race the following day. This means there are several key elements which can be taken into account when determining strategy. In the race, tyre degradation will be an important factor, with the heat making life difficult for car and driver. Indeed, these are the conditions we have experienced since the start of the weekend and the mechanics are doing a great job. Once again, they will play an important role in tomorrow's proceedings during the pit- stops.'

'It is going to be a very hard race tomorrow, but we will have to wait and see how it develops. The start is later than usual, at 3pm and we have seen over the past few days that is the time when weather conditions change,” concluded Ross Brawn. “If it was to cloud over at that time, that would probably work in our favour. From the data we acquired I think we made the best tyre choice for the rest of the weekend. The grid positions highlight the effect of the new rules, as teams can chose their qualifying fuel level and carry it through to the race. Tomorrow, we will find out how much fuel the front row runners really have on board.'