Ralf Schumacher endured a difficult start to his weekend in Monte Carlo after he ended free practice ahead of the fifth round of the Formula 1 World Championship in the barriers in Monaco.

The Toyota driver posted the 20th quickest time during the opening 90 minute long session of the day as the started preparations for the weekend ahead, but the second session would end in disappointment when he clipped a kerb going into the Swimming Pool section of the circuit and ended up in the barrier.

"It was not the happiest day for me," he said. "There was not as much grip as I would have liked and the car was sliding a bit. But we will work on our set-up before qualifying and I am optimistic we can find an improvement.

"Unfortunately I did not quite get to the end of the second practice. I caught the kerb quite hard and that put me into the tyre barrier and damaged the car a bit. I was on a strong lap so my final position does not really show what we were capable of today. I am fine after the crash and the team will be able to repair the damage in time for tomorrow's sessions."

Team-mate Jarno Trulli however enjoyed a more productive day as he ended up an encouraging fourth in the sister car.

Although he admitted that the day hadn't passed without problems, with his car lacking grid on the tricky street circuit, Trulli was pleased with how the day had gone - with the biggest issue for the team aside from Schumacher's off being a water leak in the garage which disabled the telemetry screens.

"Today was a bit difficult in general because we had the odd problem and also some bad luck this morning in the first session," the Italian said. "The burst pipe this morning cost us a bit of time and also affected our data as well. But the guys did well to fix everything and we went through our programme quite successfully in the afternoon.

"The car is still a bit difficult to drive and we still have to work a lot in order to make it better. I am missing some grip and we have some graining on the tyres but I was pleased with my lap time in the second session. All in all it looks quite promising and I am hopeful we can build on this. You can never know how things will go at Monaco but I am always confident and I am hopeful of a strong result."

 

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