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  Sunday, 15 July, 2001, 21:34 GMT 22:34 UK
Ferrari defend cautious strategy
Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen, Rubens Barrichello
McLaren beat Ferrari to first place at Silverstone
By BBC Sport Online's Andrew Benson at Silverstone.

Ferrari have rejected claims that they lost the British Grand Prix because they made a mistake with their race strategy.

The Italian team's technical director, Ross Brawn, said that Ferrari went for a defensive strategy because it was their best option with the limited experience they had at Silverstone.

Ferrari opted for a one-stop race, while McLaren put Mika Hakkinen on a two-stop.

That meant Hakkinen would be automatically quicker than Schumacher because he had less fuel on board. Brawn said that Ferrari went for a "banker" approach.


We simply weren't fast enough this weekend
Michael Schumacher
The team knew, he said, that Hakkinen might go for an "aggressive" strategy, but that Ferrari's main concern was David Coulthard, Schumacher's title rival.

The team did not want to take any risks given that they have such a massive advantage in the championship.

Brawn said that because of rain during the practice sessions, Ferrari did not have enough data on the new tyre that Bridgestone brought for the race to be sure of its characteristics in the race. So they went for the conservative option.

Schumacher therefore had to keep the Finn behind him for as long as possible in order to prevent his rival pulling out a gap big enough to get out ahead of the Ferrari after Hakkinen's first stop.

Once Hakkinen was out ahead, the race was lost.


Everyone calculates his strategy with the knowledge they have
Ross Brawn
Ferrari technical director
And he insisted that Hakkinen's dominant victory was not a sea-change in the balance of power between the two teams. This was a point echoed by Schumacher.

"We simply weren't fast enough this weekend," he said. "I don't think we are in a difficult situation in general, we just didn't get it right.

"The car is capable of being better and when it isn't right you can lose more than a couple of hundredths. It is tenths.

"Everyone calculates his strategy with the knowledge they have. If the car had been better, I would have been able to keep Mika behind me and it would have looked different.

"You have to consider a lot of information, not just what you see from the outside."

No win situation

Schumacher insisted that Ferrari would probably have lost at Silverstone no matter what.

He said: "I had a pretty difficult day. He was flying and it would have been very difficult to win this race."

Hakkinen's improved form was to a large degree down to changes made to the car and to the effectiveness of the new Bridgestone.

"Before this GP we had a very good test and we were able to get a very good balance and the tyres we used here suited my driving style," Hakkinen said.


We have made the car quicker and obviously it has played a little more to Mika's advantage than David's
Ron Dennis
McLaren boss
"The car did not understeer and I could choose the line into the corner I wanted.

"That explains a little bit my speed here; otherwise it was no different to this year."

McLaren boss Ron Dennis added: "Bridgestone have done a particularly good job of creating a new family of compounds.

"They give a more stable platform from which to optimise the car, but we've also made progress.

"We have made the car quicker and obviously it has played a little more to Mika's advantage than David's."

Schumacher said he was looking forward to more battles with Hakkinen for the remaining six races of the year.

"I hope we have more close battles this year with Mika, without him disappearing into the distance," the German said.

Hakkinen said he was sure that McLaren would win more races before the end of the season.

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