M ichael Schumacher is just having a new experience. He has to catch up, not his teammate. After his first qualification after a three-year break, the seven-time world champion is 0.283 seconds short of Nico Rosberg. The record champion suffered a defeat in each of the three training sessions and in the three qualifying rounds.
Rosberg steals the show from Schumi
In the endurance run the conditions are more balanced. Schumacher tried to calmly deal with the fact that his stable rival, who was 16 years his junior, stole the show from him. 'There are several reasons for this. I am one. The car was different today than it was during the test drives, perhaps because of the heat. I am not yet in my rhythm.' Then the returnees went into detail: 'I still have trouble setting up the car so that I can get the most out of it.'
One reason for this is the general vehicle characteristics. It provokes understeer rather than oversteer. 'Michael has never liked that,' said Toro Rosso team boss and Schumacher expert Franz Tost. 'It'll take a few more races to develop the car in the direction we want it to go.'
Podium not unrealistic for Schumacher
The new aero package was only a partial success. The weight distribution on the Mercedes GP W01 is to be changed until the Spanish GP. The aim is to put more weight on the rear axle. Until then, Schumacher wants to hoard points. 'A podium place tomorrow is not unrealistic, but it will be tough. Nico certainly has better chances than me.'
Schumacher is calm about his first Formula 1 start since October 22, 2006: 'I am still there so focused on my job that there is no place for emotions. Maybe it will come tonight. I'm excited to see what will happen in the first corner tomorrow. It will certainly be exciting when the cars arrive with so much weight. I don't make any plans. I am an instinct driver who watches what happens and then reacts to it. '
Seventh place - as in the debut in Spa
Developed in the end the anti-statistician Schumacher even had some sense of statistics. 'It is now known that I feel like I was at the beginning of my career. When I first started in Spa in 1991, I was seventh. This closes the circle.' Schumacher should give his mechanics another good tip overnightgive: Take care of the clutch. In 1991 the race for the most successful Formula 1 driver of all time was over after one kilometer. The clutch had exploded.