Schumacher plays down Spa chance

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The Independent Online

Michael Schumacher has warned not to "expect special things" this weekend at a track where he has won a record six times in the past.

Seven-time Formula One champion Schumacher heads into his favourite grand prix at Spa in Belgium with a 10-place grid penalty for the race on Sunday after he was punished by the stewards after the last race in Hungary for nearly running former Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello into a concrete wall.

It means hopes of win number seven in the Ardennes are now virtually non-existent for the Mercedes star, which would take his number of races without a victory this season to 13.

That would equal an unwanted personal record for Schumacher, first set in his second full season in F1 in 1993 when he was driving for Benetton.

Assessing the weekend ahead, Schumacher said: "Spa has always been my favourite racetrack.

"For that reason alone I am really looking forward to going back and racing there. It has been ages since I was last there.

"Our weekend will obviously be handicapped by my grid penalty, and consequently it will be difficult to expect special things from the race.

"On the other hand, every racing kilometre is important and welcome because we can learn from it with regards to our car.

"I will definitely try to make the best out of the weekend."

For Mercedes in general, it is now a case of restoring pride and aiming for respectability after a wretched run of results.

In four of the last five grands prix Mercedes have collected single digits in terms of points from Schumacher and team-mate Nico Rosberg.

In Hungary, they suffered the bitter disappointment of failing to score for the first time this season. It is now about salvaging what they can from the remaining seven races in the hope it will stand them in good stead for next year.

"The summer shutdown has been a well-deserved opportunity for our staff to have a break in the middle of the season," said team principal Ross Brawn.

"But we are all looking forward to the racing getting under way again with the Belgian Grand Prix.

"Spa is one of the classic racing circuits on the calendar which is loved by drivers, engineers and fans so it is always one of the highlights of the year.

"But with the shutdown, we have had limited time to work on the car since Hungary.

"However, we will do our best to have a good weekend to kick off the final run of seven races to the end of the season."