Michael Schumacher expecting close Championship

Current world Champion Michael Schumacher believes this year's fight for the title is not going to be an easy one. Williams are looking strong and ahead of Ferrari in the standings but Schumacher says his team are not surprised; nor should anyone...

Current world Champion Michael Schumacher believes this year's fight for the title is not going to be an easy one. Williams are looking strong and ahead of Ferrari in the standings but Schumacher says his team are not surprised; nor should anyone rule out McLaren, who have so far not had a good start to the season.

"I can only repeat that we were expecting the championship to be very close," said Schumacher, who finished third in Malaysia after a first corner clash with Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya. "I have said this often since the start of the year. It seems that people forgot that, after our unexpectedly good performance in Melbourne. For our part, we are not surprised. On the contrary, I am happy to have picked up 14 points so far. On top of that, I would also repeat that we should not yet be writing off McLaren."

Montoya received a drive-through penalty after the incident in Malaysia and Schumacher thought the punishment was unjustified. After watching replays of the brief contact the German said that although he was further over the kerb than he thought, there was no-one to blame.

"That's racing," he said. "A situation like this one doesn't usually happen too often. Having said that, it was a shame I lost the front wing. We were very close. Looking at the video, I did actually notice I am much further over the kerb than I had thought at the time. I cannot really remember. Obviously, I was concentrating more on the car on my left, so I was more aware of where the left side of my car was rather than the right."

Schumacher's brother Ralf went on to win the race and Michael was very pleased for him: "He (Ralf) really drove an exceptional race, I think he would have won anyway. If you look at his times they were similar to Montoya's, who was on a two-stop strategy and therefore had a lighter car. Ralf was very strong, with a heavier car. I am really happy for him."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams