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Monaco, 19th May – Michael Sch

Monaco, 19th May – Michael Schumacher looked in top form when he met the media in the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro motorhome in the paddock this afternoon. The previous night, he had indulged his passion for soccer, playing in a charity match between the Nazionale Piloti team and the Allstar Team put together by Prince Albert of Monaco. But leaving the pitch for the streets, the five times world champion admitted that winning here is always special. 'Monaco is a big challenge and driving here gives you an extreme feeling, as the track is narrow, the barriers so close and the slightest mistake sees you in the wall.'

Although he has not yet driven through it, the German was in favour of the radical changes to the pit lane for this year: 'it looks very good and is a big improvement.' The F2004 that Michael and his team-mate will use here have bodywork modifications designed to improve aerodynamic efficiency and cooling. 'But this has not been done specifically for Monaco,' explained Schumacher. 'We are constantly working on improvements and it just a coincidence that this latest change has come for this race.' He had a similar comment about the tyres. 'Bridgestone give us new types of tyre at nearly every race. Here in Monaco we will be using very soft tyres to suit the circuit characteristics.'

The media's traditional love of statistics meant the Ferrari man was asked what it would mean if he won here making him the only driver to win the opening six races of a season. And Michael gave his traditional answer! 'That does not matter,' he sighed. 'I will just be trying to do the best job possible. At the moment we have a fantastic package, chassis, tyres, engine, but there is no secret other than our hard work, so other teams could do the same.'

Finally, back to football. Who would be supporting in next Wednesday’s Champion’s League Final in Germany between Monaco and Porto. 'I will be supporting Monaco of course,' responded Michael. 'I lived here for a while so naturally I take their side and last night, I wished Prince Albert the best of luck.'
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