Spinout a first for Schumacher

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:07 IST

Michael Schumacher hadn't spun out in qualifying in 210 Formula One races.

Spinout a first for Schumacher

Shanghai:

Michael Schumacher hadn't spun out in qualifying in 210 Formula One races. It took the brand-new track at the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix to catch him up. "That happens. I mean, it's the first time it has happened to me," Schumacher said back in the pits after his run. "We need to find the explanation for it which we haven't done yet," he said. Following his wipeout in the second qualifying round today, Schumacher will be starting from the back row, in 19th place out of 20, for the first time in his career. Only Minardi driver Gianmaria Bruni's worse qualifying time saved him from last place. Schumacher had taken seven pole positions this year on his way to wrapping up the driver's championship at the Belgian Grand Prix. With 62 in his career, he was closing in on Ayrton Senna's all-time record of 65. He looked to have a virtual lock on yet another, with a time of 1 minute, 33.185 seconds in the first qualifier this afternoon, more than six-tenths ahead of Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello in 1:33.787. However, heading into the first turn barely five seconds into the lap, Schumacher went over the top of the turn and into the gravel, stunning the crowd in the main grandstand just behind. "I have no clue (what happened) because this is an understeer corner," the German said. Barrichello, who won the Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago, took pole position and said he was astonished to see Schumacher off the track. "The right word is that it doesn't happen often," Barrichello said. "I was shocked when I saw Michael spin. He doesn't do that," he added. "You're always expecting something good (from him)." Barrichello acknowledged drivers were still learning the nuances of new circuit, which may have affected Schumacher. "You can try so many lines, but you can make mistakes," Barrichello said. Showing no signs of disappointment, Schumacher even managed to find humour in the situation. "The good thing is that we have all the cars in the Ferrari sandwich - one is in front one is in the back," he said. Schumacher wouldn't rate his chances of winning, but said he'd try to make the race interesting. "You know, in Formula one, you should never give up. If you know me, I never do," he warned. Schumacher has a mixed record when it comes from starting near the back. At the Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago, Schumacher spun out on the first lap, then rejoined the race at the back of the pack and eventually finished second to Barrichello. It was the eighth one-two finish for Ferrari this year as Schumacher came to within a second of Barrichello in the final laps. In 1998 he had the pole position for the Japanese GP, but stalled on the grid and was put to the back of the pack. He fought his way to third place, but later dropped out of the race. However, in 1995, as a Benetton driver, he was 16th on the grid but went on to win the Belgian Grand Prix. (AP)

Topics : Formula 1
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