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Stage set for another showdown

Silverstone: A showdown of Schumachers in the British Grand Prix could determine dominance at this point in the Formula One season. Ralf Schumacher will be seeking a third consecutive victory on Sunday, and brother Michael is trying to rebound from two straight disappointing finishes.

Michael, a five-time champion, leads his younger brother by only 11 points in the standings after Ralf’s victories in the European Grand Prix and French Grand Prix. But the elder Schumacher knows things run in cycles. “You have your highs and lows. They are on the high, and we are not so much on the high at this point,” Michael said. “And I think we can turn it around again.”

Ralf took the pole in the European and French races, and teammate Juan Pablo Montoya finished second both times.

Since the Monaco GP on June 1, when Montoya won, the Williams-BMW team has dominated the Ferraris of Michael and teammate Rubens Barrichello.

“So far we have been able to fight for victory in every race,” Michael said. “Probably in the last two races that was not so much the case. But I am pretty optimistic we can fight for the victories from now on.”

Rainy and cool conditions might put a damper on the Williams drivers’ bid to stay hot. Ralf knows the wet conditions forecast for Sunday might not be good for his Michelin tyres. “It would be great to keep this momentum going,” he said. “But we are very aware that weather conditions will play an influential role. Wet tyres can be competitive, but it appears sometimes to be difficult. It depends on what Bridgestone has done.”

Bridgestone, Ferrari’s tyre supplier, has always seemed better in wet conditions because of superior grip on the track.

Last year’s race on a wet track went to Michael with Barrichello second.

Montoya is equally cautious of the weather’s effect on the cars. “The rain doesn’t really suit our tyres too much,” he said. “But we are definitely aiming for a podium position.”

Michael, with four victories in 10 races this season, is eight points ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. The McLaren driver hasn’t won since March in Malaysia. (AP)

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