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Formula 1: Schumacher's problem was called Alonso

Formula 1: Michael Schumacher's qualifying in Melbourne
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M ichael Schumacher is in seventh place on the grid furnished. The former champion also started from this position in Bahrain. But this time there would have been more. The stumbling block was called Fernando Alonso. 'He stood in my way on my last try. Fernando was on his way back to the pits. He only saw me at the last second and then moved to the side. But I was no longer sure whether I should pull through.' /p>

Alonso, of all things, as a blockade

The day before, at the driver's meeting, the Ferrari driver warned everyone to look in the rearview mirror. And then it was he of all people who didn't look in the rearview mirror. In the Parc Fermé there was a brief dispute between the world champions. Schumacher wanted to know from Alonso whether Ferrari had warned him that another car was approaching on his fast lap. Thanks to GPS navigation, the teams know exactly who is where on the route.

Alonso said no. 'That settles the matter for me,' said Schumacher, satisfied. He had a second encounter of this kind. In the second knockout round, Lewis Hamilton was not really paying attention. The Englishman was preparing his fast lap.

Rosberg even with problems

Schumacher cost Alonso's blockade a better starting position. 'I was faster than before in the first two sectors.' However, he would not have beaten Rosberg. 'If everything had gone well with Nico, the gap between us would have been greater,' the record winner honestly admitted.

The positive finding from Melbourne was that Mercedes has shortened the gap to the top teams. 'Judging by the times, we should be able to fight Massa and Button in the race. The Red Bull and Alonso are still out of our reach.' Schumacher was unable to say where the progress came from. Was it the cool weather? The route characteristics? Or the modifications to the car. The front wing and the suspensions had been revised.

Track layout helps Mercedes

'Somehow the balance of the car was better here,' Schumacher attempted to explain. 'And the setup I'm closer to what I expect from a car.' Team principal Ross Brawn added: 'I think the track layout helped us. The understeer is less of a problem here than elsewhere.'

UpSchumacher does not have any predictions for the race. The weather forecast says temperatures of up to 26 degrees, but also that it could start to rain an hour after the start. 'The rain can play in our cards if the car fits, but it can also run the other way around. We just don't know because we haven't driven in the rain up here.'

A lot of action on the first lap?

Martin Brundle predicts a hot first lap for the field because he assumes that the drivers will no longer feel like that hold back like at the season opener when you didn't know how a race without refueling would develop. Schumacher contradicts: 'It is driven like always. If you get a chance, you will seize it. Nobody says: I'll save that for later. We all know how difficult it is to overtake.'


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