Michael Schumacher has apologised to Lewis Hamilton following practice on Friday for the European Grand Prix at Valencia in Spain after blocking the Englishman late on in the second session.
The incident occurred right at the end of the 90-minute FP2, when Schumacher slowed on the approach to the final corner in his Mercedes, while Hamilton was busy trying to post a quick lap. The McLaren man lost time as a result and waved his hand to voice his displeasure.
Although it was only a 'storm in a teacup', Schumacher was still sorry: "Regarding Lewis, I must apologise as I did not see him and was not informed that he was there. I was planning my lap at that moment and looking ahead, I was unfortunately in his way," noted the record-breaking multiple F1 world champion, who was criticised rather heavily after a rather below par drive in Canada two weeks ago.
Schumacher, who was eighth this morning in the first session, eventually finished the day eleventh overall - his best time a 1 minute 40.287 seconds. Furthermore, despite doing 42 laps, he conceded he was still trying to completely get to grips with the Valencia street circuit, one of the few venues on the F1 2010 calendar he hasn't raced at.
"It was exciting to drive the track for the first time today, probably even to a bigger extent than I had anticipated yesterday after checking it," continued the German, who has returned to F1 this year after 'retiring' at the end of 2006. "So this morning for me was mostly about getting a feeling for the track.
"You need to get used to it but I found it quite comfortable to drive even if some of the corners are blind. However it's demanding to get the real rhythm which I have not totally found over one lap yet. The long runs went okay and all in all it was not too bad today, depending on the fuel loads obviously which we need to look into more deeply now."
Hamilton meanwhile, wasn't that upset by Schumacher's late block and added it was just a 'small misunderstanding'.
"It's always difficult to find a gap out there," Hamilton continued. "I saw him ahead of me and I thought he was on a quick lap – then, all of a sudden, he slowed down to create a gap from the guy in front. Around here, it's all about managing the gap between the guy in front and the guy behind. Fortunately, I missed him, so no hard feelings – and I hear he apologised anyway, so it's all good.
"There's no problem. [Besides] everyone's always backing up here at the final corner, so it's a bit like Monaco in that sense. And it shows just how tricky it will be to find a gap in qualifying tomorrow."
As for his day overall, Hamilton was pretty pleased with the pace of his McLaren and he finished proceedings fifth overall on a 1m 39.794s.
"The first session looked quite good for us [when I was second overall at the end of it]," Hamilton continued. "But it was always going to be interesting to see how quickly the blown-diffuser cars could get up to speed – and they looked very competitive this afternoon, particularly over a single lap. And the grip they appear to have through the high-speed stuff could make them difficult for us to touch.
"Nevertheless, I still think our race pace will be good, and we'll keep pushing: this weekend is all about us taking as much as we can from the blown-diffuser cars while they have an advantage."