Narain Karthikeyan may end up in front of
Schumacher on the race grid
The 9th position of Narain Karthikeyan in the first
qualifying for Melbourne F1 2005 may see him leading Michael
Schumacher in the race - for a while
5 March 2005: Narain Karthikeyan never dreamed of leading seven times world champion Michael Schumacher in his very first Grand Prix.
Yet that is what may happen. Unless he does really badly in
the second qualifying at 11:30 PM IST today, Narain
karthikeyan's Jordan F1 car may end up leading the Ferrari
F2004m of Michael Schumacher.
He was the highest-placed runner on Bridgestone tyres and his time was 13.5 seconds faster than Ferrari's Schumacher, who was 18th after his prospects were wrecked by heavy rain just before his warm-up lap.
Now, Michael Schumacher will have to do extremely well and
Narain will have to do really badly - and only then will
Narain end up behind Michael Schumacher when the race starts
tomorrow morning 8:15 IST at Melbourne's Albert Park,
However, that interesting situation may not last for long.
Michael Schumacher has been pretty good at coming to the front
positions overtaking many F1 drivers in similar situations in
past F1 races.
"It's not what I expected but I'll do my job," said Narain
Karthikeyan. "Michael Schumacher is going to be a lot faster than us for sure and he can find a way around me.
"Maybe he will be on a different strategy and the Ferrari is a lot quicker on the straight than us as well," he added. "He knows what to do for sure, he's a great guy."
"I looked up to him before I came in Formula One, he was one of my heroes, and now racing against him is just a great feeling," he said.
"I'm a little bit tired. I think it's more mental stress than anything else," he said.
"Today was a bit hard because you are thinking about the race and also I have still not got over the jet lag from England.
"I have been waking up at five o'clock but nevertheless it's been a very enjoyable day today. A bit tricky conditions but it all came together and I'm happy to have done a decent job.
"I try and push a lot," he added.
"I put a lot of pressure in myself because that's the way I am. India has been watching me for a long time, for years now, but now it is on a much bigger scale.
"I'm used to it so I think that won't affect me much."
"On my slowing down lap I could see myself on the big TV screen and I thought to myself in India it must be eight in the morning and everybody will have been watching and it felt good."
He warned against false hopes though.
"In every interview I have been saying that we have realistic goals and we are not up to speed yet ... at the moment to be honest, we can only beat the Minardis unless we get some more development parts."