Schumacher seeks win to calm Monaco storm
LONDON, June 7 (Reuters) Ferrari's Michael Schumacher hopes to repair his dented reputation and make the headlines as a winner again at Silverstone on Sunday.
Castigated by former champions and mauled by the media for unfairly impeding his rivals in Monaco qualifying, the seven times world champion intends to reassert himself in the British Grand Prix.
The German, second overall but 21 points adrift of Renault's runaway championship leader Fernando Alonso after seven races, says his hopes of an unprecedented eighth Formula One title are far from over.
''There's no doubt about it; We need to close the gap and we're determined to start doing that at Silverstone,'' Schumacher said on his Web site.
''The tests last week went off well for us so we have every reason to be optimistic for the weekend. There's no question about what our goal is: We're going to Silverstone to win.'' Schumacher shattered the Barcelona track record in testing last week and was confident he could take his third win of the season at the circuit that hosted the first world championship race in 1950.
''We've improved several areas and I think everyone will be able to see that at Silverstone. We should be able to do well and fight for the win there,'' he said.
ALONSO UPBEAT Alonso inherited pole position in Monaco after the stewards sent Schumacher to the back of the grid for deliberately preventing anyone from lapping faster at the end of the qualifying session.
The 24-year-old Spaniard, winner four times this year, is also confident that he can chalk up his third victory in a row.
''We had a good test at Silverstone and we know that the characteristics of the circuit are good for the R26, so there is no reason to think we won't be fighting at the front,'' he said this week.
''There is no point making big predictions, saying we will definitely win. Ferrari will be very strong, McLaren maybe as well if they can maintain their speed from Monaco.
''It will not be an easy weekend, but I certainly think we can be fighting for the win.'' McLaren won at Silverstone last year with Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, while team mate Kimi Raikkonen stormed from 12th on the grid to third.
Home hopes rest with Honda's Jenson Button and David Coulthard, the last Briton to win at Silverstone with McLaren in 2000 and fresh from handing Red Bull their first Formula One podium finish in Monaco.
REUTERS AY PM1417