Schumacher left to endure embarrassing driving lesson
Monday 19 April 2010
Michael Schumacher tried to remain philosophical after another embarrassing day on his return to Formula One, when he struggled with the conditions to finish 10th in Shanghai.
While his Mercedes GP team-mate Nico Rosberg led the race before slipping to third place, Schumacher stumbled around in the middle of the field, twice being handed driving lessons by Lewis Hamilton as he attempted to resist the 2008 champion.
"Today was one of those races that you do not want to remember, just like the whole weekend really," the seven-times world champion reflected. "It was not good for me and it not good from me. You have to take it as another experience and accept it, even if it is frustrating that I was not able to get my tyres together better.
"My strategy in that respect was not very impressive, as in the last 10 laps my tyres were just gone and seemed to be more slicks than intermediates. I was one of those drivers who had gone on to the last set quite early and we should have done that differently and positioned the tyres better.
"In general I had some good and tight fights which was fun but with my last stop being probably too early, I just couldn't do anything."
For a while it seemed as though Rosberg might be about to join the grand prix-winning elite, but in the end the German had to settle for a solid third place. "It was a good tyre call at the start from the team and engineers, and although it was tricky at times it turned out to be really good," he said.
"I was saying, 'Please don't rain, please stop raining', but it was nice to be leading the race for a long time. Then I think I got more tyre degradation than Jenson [Button], and after that I struggled and made a mistake and he came by me. But in general I'm happy; I'm feeling really comfortable here and the team have helped me to integrate well."
Fernando Alonso also looked strong in the lead initially, until it transpired that he had jumped the start. "That was disappointing," he admitted. "I thought my start was okay; without that we would have had the pace to have done very well."
Robert Kubica again drove unobtrusively in a Renault, which is not quite a winner yet but has the potential to become so. "It was an exciting race today and it's good to have scored some more points," he said. "I made a bad start and lost a lot of positions, but we made the right decision to stay out on slicks when it started to rain and I was able to move up through the field into third place. However, the critical moment of my race was when the safety car came out, which ended my hopes of a podium because I lost the big lead I had to the cars coming up behind me. So although I'm happy to have finished in fifth place, I still feel a bit frustrated to have missed out on a place on the podium."
After Malaysia, China proved something of a letdown for Sebastian Vettel, who was reprimanded by the stewards afterwards for dangerous driving during a pit stop.
"It was a difficult race," Vettel explained. "On nearly every second lap there was a car to pass, or I got passed. I lost quite a bit of time with the first pit stop, but we fought our way back and ended the race in sixth.
"We started on pole, with a one-two, but we didn't finish there. I think it was very chaotic today and to take sixth place was quite important. Obviously our main competitors finished ahead, so that's not nice. We struggled quite a lot in some of the conditions with the car, it was okay when we were in clean air, our pace was decent, but it's very on and off in these conditions. It's a lot just to maintain your track position.
"I had a battle with Lewis [Hamilton] in the pit lane. At the stop I was ahead; I don't know why he pulled to the left and was keen to touch me. I hoped I didn't get a puncture from that; I don't really understand why he did that as I was a bit ahead of him and had the advantage anyway."
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