HOCKENHEIM, Germany (AP) - Michael Schumacher won the pole position during qualifying for the German Grand Prix on Saturday, moving him a step closer
to matching his own record of 11 wins in a season. Schumacher had a time of 1 minute, 13.306 seconds in his Ferrari on the 2.843-mile course to pick
up his sixth pole of the season and the 61st of his career, four less than Ayrton Senna's record. His last pole came at the European Grand Prix at the
end of May.
"We worked the car very well. I was pretty confident we had a good chance," said Schumacher, who finished more than three-tenths of a second in front
of the next-fastest drivers. "It is a surprise to be up that much but I wasn't too surprised."
Schumacher is trying for his 11th victory in 12 races this season. In 2002, he set the F1 record of 11 wins in 17 races. Ferrari drivers won 15 of 17
races that season.
I think the way things are going this weekend. It looks very promising for us," Schumacher said.
Juan Pablo Montoya of Williams, last year's winner, qualified second with a time of 1:13.668. Jenson Button of BAR had the third-fastest time
(1:13.674) but will be penalized 10 spots on the starting grid because of an engine change at the end of Friday's practice.
"It's disappointing but we are surrounded by cars we can hopefully get around in the race," Button said. "It's important we score points even if it
Button is currently third in the points standings with 53. Schumacher leads with 100. Schumacher was just 11th in the pre-qualifying an hour before
with a time of 1:14.042. As the winner of the previous race he went out first on a dusty track.
He knew he would go faster in qualifying.
"Usually you say half a second to one second," Schumacher said. "You always know the circuit has less grip so you are more careful."
While Schumacher hopes to tie his record for victories in a season, Ferrari is aiming for another team title. Ferrari is currently 95 points ahead of
second-place Renault. If that lead increases to 108 or more after Sunday, Ferrari will clinch its sixth consecutive title and 14th overall.
Renault drivers Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli will start sixth and seventh, respectively. Trulli won the Monaco Grand Prix in May and Alonso took
the Hungarian GP last August, the only races won by non-Ferrari drivers in the last 11 months. Sunday's race is 67 laps. There is a three-week break
before the next race in Hungary on Aug. 15.