Michael Schumacher was disappointed following the Spanish Grand Prix today, even if he did achieve his best result since opting to come out of retirement and return to the sport with Mercedes.
Schumacher, who had been out-performed in the four opening F1 2010 races by his team-mate, Nico Rosberg, definitely had the upper hand in Barcelona. Indeed he qualified ahead and had a much better race, jumping current F1 championship leader Jenson Button at the first round of pit-stops and then keeping the Brit at bay to retain fifth.
Then on the penultimate lap the record-breaking multiple F1 world champion gained another spot when Lewis Hamilton retired. While fourth was a solid result though, Schumacher conceded that the gap to the Red Bull's is a real worry.
"It was quite an entertaining race right from the start even if we knew from the beginning that there would not be a chance for us to compete for a podium place if everything goes as normal. Still it was exciting for me to manage to keep the position that I gained but then, I am obviously not too happy as today we could only defend," Schumacher said.
"All we could do was to hope for reliability problems of others in order to make up positions and that's not really what you want to do. It was an interesting fight with Jenson but all I could do is try to not give him a possibility to overtake. In the end the gap to the front is just too big to be really happy after this race."
Rosberg was also frustrated and he never recovered after getting pushed wide onto the grass at the start. That dropped him from eighth to twelfth and he also lost time when he had a problem in his first pit-stop. He eventually had to settle for 13th.
"The race didn't go my way today and, of course, it is frustrating to have finished outside of the points for the first time this season. We have a good upgrade on the car here which should be improving our performance but it just hasn't worked out for me here," he said. "In qualifying, I did the best that I could but starting from eighth position isn't where we wanted to be this weekend
"In the race, I had the situation with Robert [Kubica] at the start when I tried for the gap but he didn't see me so I was pushed wide and then we had a problem at my first stop which dropped me back again. So it's been a disappointing weekend and we need to look into the reason why we have been off our usual pace."
Mercedes Grand Prix team principal, Ross Brawn meanwhile conceded that the Brackley-based outfit has a lot more work to do to improve the competitiveness of the MGP W01.
"Well done to Michael and the team for their hard work today. Michael has driven extremely well all weekend to continue the progress that he made over the first three races of the season and achieve his best finish with our team," Brawn summed-up. "Nico has had a more difficult time and we will look closely into the reasons why he has struggled this weekend.
"Although we have made a step forward with the performance of our car though, the evidence shows that our competitors have also improved and our step is not enough to enable us to compete where we would like to be. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us."