A very close contest.
Monaco GP - Ferrari - Race Report

Reigning world champion Michael Schumacher saved the day to some degree in Monaco this afternoon with a third placed finish for the Italian squad. The German driver qualifying down in fifth place and was quite pleased to finish where he did, despite the fact that he was hoping to secure his sixth win around the tight and twisty street circuit.

"To go from fifth on the grid to third on the podium in Monaco is quite good. I could say that I might have been able to finish higher if I had not been stuck behind Trulli in the early stages, but our strategy was to go for a long first stint and that meant having more fuel, which is why I was behind him,” Michael said. “During some parts of the race I was not able to push as hard as I wanted as the overall package was not at its best at those times. I enjoyed the chase towards the end of the race and I pushed all the way to the flag, as I could see that the two in front were very close and there was always the chance they might make a mistake. We have seen again this weekend, as I have said before, that the competition is very close this year.'

In comparison, teammate Rubens Barrichello had a rather lacklustre afternoon, finishing one place further back from where he started, in eighth place. The Brazilian is very disappointed with the outcome and can only look ahead to the next event and put this one behind him…

“I don’t have much to say at the end of a race which can only be described as disappointing. Any time I was able to push to the maximum,” he explained. “I came up behind traffic and so I never managed to get the best out of the car, which had great potential. It is impossible to overtake on this track and, having lost a place at the start, I was unable to improve my situation.’

‘It was a very close contest. The cars which started from the first four rows of the grid all finished in the points, if not in the same order. This proves that the field is very closely matched and that the top four teams in the Championship have reached a high level of competitiveness and reliability,” added Jean Todt. "Nevertheless, these seven points are important for the championship. Michael has fallen two points further back from the leader in the Drivers’ Championship, while we are three behind the lead team in the Constructors.’ This result is further proof that this season is very closely fought. We will have to work very hard in the next few weeks, both on the development of the F2003-GA and, with Bridgestone, on the tyres.’

“Our performance in yesterday’s qualifying cost us the chance of a better result in this afternoon’s race,” explained Ross Brawn. “In the first stint, Michael was stuck behind Trulli and therefore lost precious time compared with the leaders. Our chosen strategy was a good one, the car worked well and the pit stops were carried out in their usual slick way. We did all we could.'