The predictions during winter testing were that Renault was going to be a force to reckoned with in 2005, so Michael Schumacher was not surprised at the French squad's strong performance in Melbourne. Pole sitter Giancarlo Fisichella claimed the...
The predictions during winter testing were that Renault was going to be a force to reckoned with in 2005, so Michael Schumacher was not surprised at the French squad's strong performance in Melbourne. Pole sitter Giancarlo Fisichella claimed the maiden victory of the season and Renault teammate Fernando Alonso came home third after starting 13th.
Schumacher's own race ended after a clash with the Williams of Nick Heidfeld that sent them both out, but the defending champion was still happy with Ferrari's pace. "Everybody knew that Renault were very good," he said. "It was clear after the winter tests and so I wasn't surprised at all."
"But to be completely honest, I thought we would have been much further back. The fact that Rubens (Barrichello), from eleventh, ended in second, is the proof that last year's model is still very competitive. This gives me a good feeling for the next few races. I thought we would have been less competitive."
Schumacher agreed with the stewards that the moment with Heidfeld was just a racing incident. "With this type of thing there are always different opinions and mine is that it is impossible to blame either one of us," he remarked. "My car was slightly damaged in the collision and there was no point in going on."
However, he was frustrated to miss out on what could have been a points finish as he believed he could have got past the Red Bull of Christian Klien for seventh place. "I am almost certain that I would have overtaken Klien and this would have given me two points."
While Melbourne has often been a good circuit for Ferrari in the past, Schumacher doesn't think the first race is necessarily a good indication of how the teams stand. Malaysia is the next event and it's possible there will be a different picture at Sepang, so Michael is not willing to make any predictions.
"We have to take into account that the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne is not really a track on which you can judge the relative strengths of the different teams," he commented. "We have always done well here. It is possible that things will be completely different at Kuala Lumpar and so I am a little cautious in forming an opinion."