• Japanese Grand Prix - Qualifying

Schumacher brushes off final incident

ESPNF1 Staff
October 8, 2011 « 'I got everything out of the car' - Button | Alonso targeting podium at Suzuka »
Michael Schumacher didn't start a flying lap during Q3 © Sutton Images

Michael Schumacher brushed off the final corner incident that saw both he and Lewis Hamilton miss out on a final flying lap during qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Hamilton was approaching the chicane at the end of his outlap when he backed off to leave a gap between himself and team-mate Jenson Button. With time tight, however, Mark Webber dived down the inside and Schumacher tried to go round the outside. Webber came out ahead and crossed the line before the chequered flag, but both Schumacher and Hamilton missed out. When asked by the BBC if it had been costly, Schumacher brushed off the incident as he still qualified in seventh, although he was later dropped to eighth behind Kamui Kobayashi who did start a timed lap.

"Not really, luckily at least Kobayashi didn't go out again to set another lap because that would have meant I would have been shy by probably a second," Schumacher said. "It was a bit stupid, in the last chicane everyone was driving so slow and I saw my time so I knew that I had to go through somehow otherwise I wouldn't make it, and I just missed it by a second, so a bit of a shame but it didn't make a problem in the end."

Schumacher said he had to try to pass Hamilton because time was running out, but that somebody was always going to come off worse.

"I had Webber in front who slowed down because Hamilton slowed down, I don't know what was in front of him - maybe he really had to slow down that much - but it was tight for all three of us so we all had to push somehow to make it through to do another lap. At that moment I was set to do a lap because I didn't know whether Kobayashi may go out or somebody would go out. So I tried my best and then Lewis pushed me a little bit wide on to the grass and I made it through, so a little bit of an awkward start to my qualifying lap."

Despite the qualifying issues, Schumacher said he was optimistic for the race after an otherwise smooth weekend so far.

"It is working out well all weekend, we've been going good at getting the maximum of the car, so I'm happy."