Sunday, April 20, 2003

Formula One: Brothers qualify 1-2 in Italy

Schumachers then visit ailing mother

The Associated Press

IMOLA, Italy - Brothers Michael and Ralf Schumacher finished 1-2 in qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix on Saturday, and then flew to Germany to see their mother, who is in a coma.

The Schumachers are planning to race on Sunday.

"They decided after the qualifying to go visit their mother, and they will return either this evening or tomorrow morning," said Thomas Hofmann, spokesman for Ralf Schumacher.

The brothers refused to comment on their mother's health during a news conference after qualifying.

Elizabeth Schumacher, 55, was hospitalized in Cologne on April 10 and is in stable condition, Hofmann said.

The German weekly newspaper Bild reported Elizabeth Schumacher is in an induced coma following an operation.

"We're in constant contact with the doctors," Ralf Schumacher was quoted as saying in Bild. "I'm trying naturally somehow to concentrate on the race.

"In a situation like this, you consider whether you should race or not. But after the first shock, it's clear: You can't just drop everything. No one can do that. We can only do everything for our mother we can - and hope."

Michael Schumacher won the 52nd pole of his career with a fast lap of 1 minute, 22.327 seconds on Ferrari's home 3.065-mile Enzo and Dino circuit.

The Ferrari driver earned his second pole of the season. He was the fastest qualifier at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix and placed fourth, his best finish of the season.

The Schumachers last shared the front row at the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim in July.

Ralf Schumacher, of Williams BMW, turned a lap of 1:22.341, and Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello was third-fastest in 1:22.557.

Finland's Kimi Raikkonen of McLaren Mercedes, who leads the driver standings, was sixth in 1:23.148.

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