SAO PAULO, Nov 25, 2011 (AFP) - After an encouraging performance in free practice on Friday, Michael Schumacher is hoping to take the fight to Ferrari during Sunday's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.
Despite not being able to challenge pace-setter Lewis Hamilton of McLaren, the 42-year-old Mercedes driver finished the opening day at the Interlagos circuit fifth fastest.
The seven-times champion's time was enough to separate Ferrari pair Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa who were fourth and sixth fastest respectively.
The optimistic German was encouraged by his performance and is hoping he can use his powerful Mercedes car to take advantage of the high speed corners at the Brazilian track.
"It was a good Friday without trouble," he said. "The circuit made it relatively easy to find a balance at least.
"Everything is a little bit more close together here, so there is definitely a small opportunity with a perfect weekend."
Schumacher still has a chance of stealing seventh place in the championship from his team-mate and compatriot Nico Rosberg, and hinted that he is hoping to take advantage of the wet conditions that look to play a role in Saturday's qualifying session.
"The lap times are traditionally very tight here so let's see what we can do in qualifying tomorrow," he said.
"For the rest of the weekend, the weather forecast is for rain, so maybe we will see some surprises as we reach the end of the season."