World champion Michael Schumacher put his poor grid position for the Monaco Grand prix down to a mis-calculation in the pre-qualifying session that left him with a lot to do when the real business of setting the starting order came around.

The German, by dint of having won the last race in Spain, was first on the road in pre-qualifying, but admitted that had not expected the track condition to be as lacking in grip as it was. As a result, he posted only the 14th fastest lap, which meant that he then had to run early in qualifying proper, leaving his rivals knowing exactly what they had to do as the circuit became more conducive to quick times.

"Qualifying was a little bit of a disappointment," Schumacher said after his brother's penalty had elevated him to the outside of row two, "Everything was the result of a difficult pre-qualifying, when I found the track to be very slippery. It was much worse than expected, as you can see from the fact I was much quicker in the morning.

"The result was that I was a long way off where we wanted to be. It meant I had to make my second run very early, and that certainly did not help."

The German admitted that, with passing so difficult on the Monaco street circuit and three fast cars - both Renaults and Jenson Button's BAR - ahead of him, he would be relying as much on ace tactician Ross Brawn as his own driving skills.

"This race always throws up surprises from start to finish, so we will have to be as well prepared as possible to make the most of any opportunity that comes our way," the team's technical director confirmed.