• Malaysian Grand Prix

Defiant Schumacher hits back

ESPNF1 Staff
April 1, 2010 « Tired Sepang needs investment | »
Michael Schumacher arrives at Sepang © Sutton Images

Michael Schumacher hit back at suggestions his comeback has so far been underwhelming, telling reporters in Malaysia he was "quite happy" with the way the first two races had gone.

"That is what people like to see at the moment, but it's not what I see," he said when asked to respond to critics. "I'm sorry that my opinion is different to what some media feel I should be happy with or not happy with. But it's a free opinion from everybody. I'm quite happy. I have made the maximum out of my possibilities and from what we can do."

Turning to the more immediate prospect of this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, he admitted that he would be happy with a podium which was "probably the maximum we can look for at the moment.

"We can still fight for the championship. It is a long season. I have taken a lot of positives from the race weekend in Melbourne. While that might not be evident at first sight, when you look into the weekend more deeply, we did make some real improvements and have good reason to be satisfied, just not from the actual result obviously.

"In analysing qualifying, both Nico [Rosberg] and I could have been two or three places higher and, with hindsight, my set-up was too conservative and too much focused on the race.

"Those better positions would have enabled us to fight closer to the front on Sunday. All of this means that we are not too far away and I am quite confident that there will be more to come.

"We know that we have clearly improved our pace since the first race in Bahrain, which is a good feeling. It was a lot of fun fighting it out on the track in Melbourne, even if it was just for one point, and I will enjoy fighting again in Sepang."

Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn again backed Schumacher by insisting a two or three-race readjustment to F1 following three years of retirement is "normal". And Norbert Haug, the German marque's racing director, agreed that during that readjustment period, Schumacher is not being disgraced by Rosberg, whose four-year F1 career has included the three seasons in which Schumacher was absent.

"I think [Nico] is one of the highest-rated guys of the current generation," Haug said. "Michael is missing three years of these four (Rosberg) years but he is here to be competitive. We have one of the strongest driver pairings in the field."