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Schumi has eyes on America
June 16, 2004 19:16 IST
Seven wins in eight races have only fuelled Michael Schumacher's ever-burning desire to win wherever he goes.
After conquering Canada last weekend, the Ferrari ace is ready to crack the whip south of the border to win the U.S. Grand Prix for the third time on Sunday.
"After such a successful a race as Montreal, we go into Indianapolis with more desire," said the six-times world champion.
"Winning naturally ups the team spirit even though, I think, it is hard for it to be better than it is now.
"We hope to notch another win," added the German after becoming the first Formula One driver to win the same grand prix seven times.
"Make no mistake: we want to go for victory and we will be competitive."
Schumacher said he expected his younger brother Ralf, disqualified in Canada after finishing second for Williams, and BAR to be strong at 'The Brickyard' as the season reaches the halfway stage.
But, with 77 career wins behind him, there is no doubt who will be the favourite. He may not be instantly recognisable in America, but the country loves a winner and the Red Baron certainly fits the bill.
Schumacher leads team mate Rubens Barrichello by 16 points in the championship.
"I have said it often enough but I think we are going into Indianapolis with a good chance," he told the Ferrari web site.
Williams, disqualified along with Toyota for running irregular brake ducts in Montreal, will be looking to prove a point at a circuit that should also play to their strengths, even if Ralf is wary.
"Somehow I have a feeling Indianapolis does not really like me as my last two races there have been somewhat frustrating," he said this week.
"In 2002, I had a collision with my team mate and, in 2003, I spun off in the wet while running in second position.
"I think we will be well prepared, though, so I'm hoping for a more successful result than I've had in previous years."
His Colombian team mate Juan Pablo Montoya can count on considerable popular support after winning the Indianapolis 500 at the first attempt in 2000 when he was CART champion.
Renault will also be strong, despite a double failure in Montreal, while BAR are determined to raise their already impressive game.
Briton Jenson Button, who inherited third place for BAR in Canada after Ralf was disqualified and Ferrari's Brazilian Rubens Barrichello moved up to second, now has six podiums from the last seven races.
But he is still looking for his first win.
"Our performance in Canada wasn't as good as we expected and we have to look at the reasons why we weren't as quick as we should have been," said Button, who led at Indianapolis in 2003.
"We can't test before Indy so we don't have any changes to the car or engine -- we'll just have to see what we can achieve on the engineering side."
McLaren, who had Kimi Raikkonen on pole last year, will be hoping for a respectable finish in what should be the final race appearance for the uncompetitive MP4-19 car before a heavily revised version emerges in France.
"We have won in Indianapolis in all its various guises, although we recognise with our current form we are realistically aiming for some solid point finishes," said McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh.
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