• Malaysian Grand Prix - Qualifying

Schumacher eyeing podium finish

ESPNF1 Staff
March 24, 2012 « No strategy behind hard tyre choice - Vettel | KERS problem takes edge off Alonso's qualifying lap »
Michael Schumacher was 0.172s off pole position © Getty Images

Michael Schumacher wants a repeat of his top three performance from qualifying in Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.

The third place during qualifying at Sepang was Schumacher's first top three result in either qualifying or the race since his return to Formula One in 2010. While he admitted that he was pleased with his starting position Schumacher insisted the important thing was trying to turn it in to a podium finish in the race.

"I'm feeling happy, certainly," Schumacher said. "It's a good achievement for us considering where we've come from last year and considering who again is behind us. Not only now in Australia - which is a sometimes unusual circuit for car performance - but even in a difficult track like Malaysia we managed to do a good job. Thanks to the guys here we are, let's hope we can be in an equal position tomorrow."

Although Mercedes has shown impressive one-lap pace making use of its DRS F-duct, Schumacher said third was the best he could have achieved.

"This was the maximum that was available. We managed to work the car very well over the whole weekend, obviously it showed potential in Australia - not so much in the race - so the focus obviously was to try and find the best compromise for both and I guess we have achieved this. We're third here, very tight business; if you look who is behind us and how close everything is going we can be more than happy about what we've achieved and look forward now for tomorrow."

When asked about the tyre degradation issues which hampered Mercedes in Australia Schumacher said that it is the conditions that concern him more than the way the car is now working.

"Well I guess all of us have certain concerns because those temperatures are pretty new to us. We have had some preparation yesterday but I guess we have done a decent job. We have learnt quite a lesson in Australia, we have reacted, the boys in the factory and all the team have really done a superb job. I'm more than happy about the progress and how we understand the car."