Archive for Sunday, May 23, 2004

Schumacher fails to win Monaco pole

Driver seeking sixth straight victory today

May 23, 2004


— Michael Schumacher will have his worst starting position of the season at the Monaco Grand Prix, where he will be trying to win his sixth straight Formula One race.

Jarno Trulli of Italy captured the pole position Saturday -- the first pole of his career -- while Schumacher had the fifth-fastest qualifying time.

The six-time world champion was bidding for a 60th first place on the grid, but instead will start on the second row today. Previously this season, he had four poles and one second.

"It is going to be much tougher -- traffic, start, a much more critical environment," Schumacher said. "We are not very happy about where we are starting from, but we will still do the race and try our best.

Added Trulli: "For once, he is not on the front row. For once, I am."

Schumacher is trying to set a Formula One record for victories to start the season and equal the best winning streak in a season at six. Alberto Ascari won the last six races in 1952, and added three more at the start of 1953.

Schumacher has a perfect 50 points in five races. Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello is second in the standings at 32, with Jenson Button third at 24.

Trulli powered his Renault around the winding, narrow streets of Monaco in 1 minute, 13.985 seconds. His previous best qualifying in Monaco was in 2000, when he was second on the grid.

"I have been chasing it for quite a long time," Trulli said. "We have done a good job the last few weeks to improve the car and especially the car handling. Here in Monaco it is definitely what you need."

Ralf Schumacher was second in 1:14.345, but will start 10 places back because his Williams-BMW blew an engine earlier in the race weekend. Button, in a BAR-Honda, was third fastest in 1:14.396. He will start on the front row with Trulli.

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