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'Wow,' says 3rd-placed Schumi

2012-06-24 18:09

Valencia - Even a record champion can lose track of where he is placed at the end of an eventful Formula One race, and Michael Schumacher could say nothing more than "Wow" when he was told he had finished third at the European Grand Prix.

Technical breakdowns on the cars of then leader Sebastian Vettel and second-placed Romain Grosjean, plus a penultimate-lap collision of Pastor Maldonando and Lewis Hamilton swept the seven-times champion of the Mercedes team onto the podium.

"I didn't think about a podium. I asked at the end where I finished and when they told me third, I couldn't believe it. You lose count," Schumacher said.

Mercedes motorsport chief Norbert Haug named the result "memorable" and Schumacher said "it's a great feeling to be back after such a long time. It is the best way to jump the podium unexpectedly."

It was the first top-three finish for Schumacher since he won his 91st career race at the Chinese GP in October 2006 when he was at Ferrari.

The long absence showed when he simply forgot to say a few words in German at the post-race news conference.

"I am not used to this any more," quipped the 43-year-old, who retired at the end of the 2006 campaign before returning for Mercedes in 2010 in what is now the final season of a three-year-contract.

Team-mate Nico Rosberg won the first race for Mercedes as a works team since the 1950s at the Chinese GP.

Schumacher topped qualifying for the Monaco race (although a grid penalty denied him starting from pole) but mainly made headlines with technical problems for four retirements in seven previous races, plus one accident, for a meagre two championship points.

But Schumacher said after the latest setback two weeks ago in Canada that he would not give up and also said the problems will be no deciding factor he considers his future beyond the season.

Things didn't look much better in Valencia as Schumacher had to start from 12th on the grid, but he recovered to eighth place once the safety car came out in the 29th lap after an accident and then shot up the rankings thanks to some passing moves and the misfortune of others.

"We were criticised a lot for the past races. But we now gave the best answer," Schumacher said after his 155th career podium behind Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus.

"I am proud, grateful and simply happy."

Results of the European Formula One Grand Prix here on Sunday:

1. Fernando Alonso (ESP/Ferrari) 1hr 44min 16.649sec, 2. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Lotus) at 6.421s, 3. Michael Schumacher (GER/Mercedes) 12.639, 4. Mark Webber (AUS/Red Bull) 13.628, 5. Nico Hlkenberg (GER/Force India) 19.993, 6. Paul di Resta (GBR/Force India) 22.866, 7. Nico Rosberg (GER/Mercedes) 21.176, 8. Jenson Button (GBR/McLaren Mercedes) 24.653, 9. Sergio Perez (MEX/Sauber) 27.777, 10. Pastor Maldonado (VEN/Williams) 34.630, 11. Bruno Senna (BRA/Williams) 35.961, 12. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Toro Rosso) 37.041, 13. Vitaly Petrov (RUS/Caterham) 1:15.800, 14. Heikki Kovalainen (FIN/Caterham) 1:34.600, 15. Charles Pic (FRA/Marussia) 1:36.500, 16. Felipe Massa (BRA/Ferrari) 1 lap, 17. Pedro de la Rosa (ESP/HRT) 1 lap, 18. Narain Karthikeyan (IND/HRT) 1 lap, 19. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/McLaren) 2 laps

Overall standings:

Drivers

1. Fernando Alonso (ESP) 111.0pts, 2. Mark Webber (AUS) 91.0, 3. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) 88.0, 4. Sebastian Vettel (GER) 85.0, 5. Nico Rosberg (GER) 75.0, 6. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) 73.0, 7. Romain Grosjean (FRA) 53.0, 8. Jenson Button (GBR) 49.0, 9. Sergio Perez (MEX) 39.0, 10. Pastor Maldonado (VEN) 30.0, 11. Paul di Resta (SCO) 27.0, 12. Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) 21.0, 13. Michael Schumacher (GER) 17.0, 14. Nico Hlkenberg (GER) 17.0, 15. Bruno Senna (BRA) 15.0, 16. Felipe Massa (BRA) 11.0, 17. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) 4.0, 18. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) 2.0

Constructors

1. Red Bull 176.0pts, 2. McLaren 137.0, 3. Lotus 126.0, 4. Ferrari 122.0, 5. Mercedes 92.0, 6. Sauber 60.0, 7. Williams 45.0, 8. Force India 44.0, 9. Toro Rosso 6.0

SAPA

Comments
  • Ken - 2012-06-24 22:56

    Schumi you beaut!...best F1 race car driver ever!...can't wait for win number 92!

      al.pal.106 - 2012-06-25 01:51

      I agree with you Ken.It was a sweet podium and long due, considering a few earlier performances that ended with car and team failures while in great positions. I have always believed in a two year racing cycle. You can measure team and driver lineup changes in a two year cycle. 1st Year Driver or new team needs to fix all sorts of preceived deficiencies. So just to finish every race is a challenge and goal.Also pervious team / drivers developments are what you have to work with. 2nd Year is 1st year for new team / drivers development and direction from the ground up. This year should see team moving forward and regular point finishes. 3rd year and 2 year of the cycle there should be no longer any problems and only new regulations and rule change develpoment to be done. In this year you should see attempts and good chances at podium finishes and strong move up the order. and lastly the 4th year. In this year podiums must be a regular occurance and fight for the championship and reachable goal. This is my firm belief. I have seen it with Michael and Alonso and other drivers.I thus expect Michael this year to have a look at podiums, but having to deal with rule changes and reliability of the car. New year if Michael stays we should see a regular visitor to the podium once again.

  • hc12345 - 2012-06-25 11:06

    I hope one of the top teams will offer him a drive next year!

  • thaluki.malema - 2012-11-22 06:35

    All because everybody esle fell off the track infront of him. It's just a flash in the pan. He's a useless cheat. He has done nothing in 3 years, except having his @sre kicked.

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