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Red rules for Ferrari in China
Alan Baldwin | September 22, 2004 16:47 IST
Rubens Barrichello has warned Ferrari team mate Michael Schumacher that he is out to steal the world champion's thunder in Sunday's inaugural Chinese Formula One Grand Prix.
The Brazilian took the chequered flag at the last race in Italy, Ferrari's home grand prix at Monza, for his first victory of the season and should clinch overall second place in Shanghai.
But the title contest has already been killed off by seven-times champion Schumacher, the most successful driver in Formula One history, who has racked up 12 wins in 15 starts and will be a favourite to triumph again in Shanghai despite Barrichello's optimism.
"The most important thing is to fight to win the race," Barrichello said when asked at a news conference on Wednesday about finishing runner-up in the standings.
"Second place is better than third but for the next three Grands Prix I'll be fighting to win. That gives me more pleasure than fighting for second place in the championship."
While Barrichello tried to talk up his prospects, Schumacher had to explain some Formula One basics in his first appearance before local reporters.
The German, who theatrically stifled a yawn at an Italian Grand Prix conference when he was asked yet again why he carried on racing, at least faced questions with a difference.
"Why are you always in red? Is it your lucky colour? And can you win the championship here in Shanghai," were the first puzzlers thrown his way.
The German, with both the drivers' and constructors' titles sealed last month in the most one-sided championship in years, listened intently.
After explaining that Ferrari had "been red forever", Schumacher hoped that the colour -- considered both lucky and imperial in China -- would also help the Italian team on Sunday.
"I hope it brings us luck," he said. "It's great to be here with this colour and hopefully we can do well. We want to win this race.
"I feel quite happy to be here in Shanghai," added the 35-year-old. "It's my first trip to China and I'm looking forward to experiencing the circuit. It's great to come here and know that people love the sport."
Schumacher has won at every circuit currently on the calendar, including Bahrain's first grand prix in the Middle East this year, in a career spanning more than a decade.
"We will have to wait until Sunday and see how the race goes," he cautioned. "We hope that we have overtaking possibilities and can put on a good show."
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