Schumacher: I am still in the title race

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The Independent Online

Michael Schumacher has brushed off criticism of his performance since he came out of retirement, saying he is still in the Formula One title race.

The seven-times world champion said yesterday he had no reason to be disappointed with his first three outings with Mercedes and, if anything, he was making better progress than he expected.

"If we have quick enough development speed there's no reason why we cannot fight for the championship," the German said ahead of Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix. "There is such a long season ahead, and we all know how quick the rate of development is. I'm pretty sure we have potential to develop this car," added Schumacher who trails championship leader Felipe Massa by 30 points.

"It's far from thinking this season is over for [team-mate] Nico [Rosberg] and even for myself."

Schumacher has been out-qualified and beaten in all three races by his compatriot. An encouraging sixth place at the season-opener in Bahrain was followed by a disappointing 10th in Australia before a wheel-nut problem meant he failed to finish at Sepang in Malaysia two weeks ago.

"The results have not been as great as expected ,so it is natural I don't have the same positive feeling," said the German. "[But] I'd rather look forward."