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Schumacher, Ferrari left feeling the need for speed

Written by: Staff

MELBOURNE, Apr 1 (Reuters) A frustrated Michael Schumacher admitted victory in tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix would be 'difficult' after a disappointing qualifying session left him in 10th place on the starting grid.

''I can't really explain our performance,'' the seven-time world champion told reporters today.

''We now have to think what we can do out of this.'' The Ferrari talisman endured a troubled qualifying session.

First a brake cooler his crew had left attached to his front wing fell off and scattered debris across the pit-lane, before he then failed to make the top 10 for the final round of qualifying.

He finished 11th fastest with a time of one minute 26.718 seconds, almost 1.5 secs slower than Jenson Button's eventual pole position time.

He will start the race in 10th place after BMW Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve's demotion of 10 places for installing a new engine on Friday.

''We were just not fast enough,'' the German said.

''If I knew the reasons why we would have changed things before.

Of course I am not happy.

''Tomorrow is very hard to judge, we need to find the speed or there's not a lot we can do. We need to find the reasons to solve and change things so we will be faster. It will be very difficult.'' BUSY GARAGE The session was in sharp contrast to the first two qualifying hours of the season where he claimed pole in Bahrain and secured a place on the second row at Sepang.

Schumacher played down the incident which saw his car scatter debris over the pitlane during the second period of qualifying.

The wreckage was soon cleared but not before Mark Webber's Williams was forced to drive over the shattered cooling duct.

''You have to imagine how hectic it is in the garage. It's very busy so it's easy that something like this can happen.'' Schumacher's debacle completed a miserable qualifying session for the Maranello outfit.

Team mate Felipe Massa's bid ended abruptly when he lost control at turn 11 and spun violently into the restraining tyre wall.

''What happened was a shame,'' said the Brazilian, who will start tomorrow's race in 15th position. ''I touched the kerb and I could not correct it in time and that was the end for me.

''We have to accept the situation and do a good race, just as we did in Malaysia.'' Team boss Jean Todt said the team would try and make the best of a bad situation.

''It was a disappointing qualifying session. Despite the handicap of less than ideal grid positions, we will do our best to make up the ground we have lost today.'' REUTERS PM RK1145

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