• European Grand Prix

Podium still unlikely - Schumacher

ESPNF1 Staff
June 24, 2011 « 'It is tight here' - Vettel | »
Michael Schumacher: "We will most likely find ourselves starting around the fourth row" © Sutton Images
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Michael Schumacher does not think his Mercedes is fast enough to challenge for a podium at this weekend's European Grand Prix despite setting a competitive time in Friday practice.

Schumacher was fourth fastest at the Valencia street circuit in second practice, just 0.05s off Sebastian Vettel and 0.347s slower than the fastest time of all. But he is not expecting to be as close in qualifying when he thinks seventh or eighth is a more realistic target.

"In the morning session we still had some issues to sort out, and in the afternoon we just worked consistently on our car," he said after the second practice session. "All of us are aware, though, that under normal circumstances we will not yet be strong enough to fight for the podium, and will most likely find ourselves starting around the fourth row. But as we managed to complete our programme in a good way, I am still taking a positive feeling out of today's practice."

He added that the majority of his time had been spent working on race setup.

"We had a typical Friday practice situation, running through different setup possibilities and variations. As usual on Friday, our focus was more on the long runs, and all in all I am very happy because we managed to do a lot of work."

Nico Rosberg could only manage the eighth fastest time in the other Mercedes, 0.726s off Schumacher, and he admitted there was still plenty of work to do on the car.

"We had a bit of a tricky morning: it was clear that we had to change some things on the setup but we managed to improve the car for this afternoon," he said. "It was important to learn as much as possible today but I am still not completely happy with the balance we have at the moment.

"There are a few new things to adapt to this weekend, such as the new engine mapping regulation for example, and that makes it a little more challenging. We have work to do this evening, but I am positive that we will make a good start to the qualifying day tomorrow."