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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 April, 2004, 18:08 GMT 19:08 UK
Ferrari pace shocks Button
Jenson Button celebrates on the podium at Imola
1 M Schumacher (Ferrari)
2 J Button (BAR)
3 JP Montoya (Williams)
4 F Alonso (Renault)
5 J Trulli (Renault)
6 R Barrichello (Ferrari)
7 R Schumacher (Williams)
8 K Raikkonen (McLaren)
Jenson Button said he was stunned by the speed of Michael Schumacher after losing out in a battle for victory at the San Marino Grand Prix.

The Briton started the race well from pole but could not cope with the pace of Michael Schumacher's Ferrari and was forced to settle for second.

"It was fantastic seeing the red car going backwards after the start.

"Then came the pit stops and he ended up with a big gap, which I was actually quite shocked about," Button said.

"But I think we all know the pace of the Ferrari is untouchable in a race.

"They are a long way in front of everybody.

"Michael was 27 seconds in front of me before he started slowing down, so that's a huge gap considering I was leading for the first nine laps of the race.

"If I knew the reasons why they're so fast then we would work on it. It's very difficult to understand why we are so far away from them."

Button produced what BAR team principal David Richards described as "the perfect drive", even though Schumacher cruised to his fourth win out of four this season.

We might be closer to Ferrari, but to beat them is a big step for us
Jenson Button

It was the best result of the 24-year-old's career and his third podium in a row after third-place finishes in Malaysia and Bahrain.

"It was another fantastic race and I'm very happy with second place, which is another step closer to our ultimate ambition - a first win for me and the team," said Button.

"It looks like we have an exciting season ahead of us and I can go to Barcelona [in a fortnight] very happy with my year so far.

"It should be a good race for us, but looking at Ferrari's pace they seem to be very good in race trim. We might be closer, but to beat them is a big step for us."

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