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Rosberg: Schumacher's results 'don't reflect how good he is'

As Michael Schumacher insists he is 'fighting' hard to return to the front of the F1 field with Mercedes Grand Prix, team-mate Nico Rosberg argues the German legend is 'closer than last year' and performing 'at a high level' in 2011
Nico Rosberg has defended Mercedes Grand Prix team-mate Michael Schumacher's performances thus far in F1 2011, arguing that his elder countryman's results in the opening three races 'do not reflect how good he is' – as the record-breaking multiple world champion reiterated that he will see out his three-year contract with the team.

Having been roundly outpaced and outscored by Rosberg during his comeback campaign in the top flight last year, Schumacher has again struggled to keep pace with his fellow German in 2011 to-date, failing to make the top ten on the starting grid in Australia, Malaysia or China and indeed languishing a full ten spots behind the sister 'Silver Arrow' in qualifying in Shanghai last time out.

That has reignited speculation that the 91-time grand prix-winner will cut short his three-year deal and hang up his helmet once more come season's end, but as he looks ahead to the upcoming Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul, Rosberg – who delivered Mercedes a boost by leading in China before losing ground in the race's closing stages due to a fuel miscalculation on the part of the team – claims Schumacher has upped his game and suggests his critics ought to lay off awhile.

“Michael performs at a high level – he is strong,” the 25-year-old told German publication Bild am Sonntag. “His current results do not reflect how good he is. To beat him, I have to get everything right – he's closer than last year.

“We had a more difficult start to 2011 than we had expected, and the first three races felt a little like a rollercoaster of emotions. We were all disappointed in Melbourne and Malaysia but, after leading the race in Shanghai, we have confirmed the potential of our car. The team did a very good job to take a step forward, and we learned a lot from the weekend.

“Hopefully we can now make a further step for Turkey and produce another positive performance. I am really looking forward to the race at Istanbul Park. Turn Eight is one of the most challenging corners of the year; it's taken at full-throttle for over eight seconds, with forces of up to 5G. If I had to create a fantasy F1 circuit, this corner would definitely be included!”

'Schumi' is similarly pumped up for Istanbul – one of the few grands prix on the F1 calendar that he has never won – and is adamant that his motivation to succeed and to return to the very front of the field still burns as brightly as it has ever done.

“Chasing for tenth place is not fun,” he conceded in an interview with Bunte, “but that's why I'm fighting with Mercedes. Forty-two [years-old] is not the same as 25, [but] I will fulfil my three-year contract with Mercedes and afterwards work as a representative of the brand.

“It is always exciting when the calendar returns to Europe and the racing schedule becomes more intense. After returning from the first three races, I have enjoyed spending some time with my family in the short break, and I am now really looking forward to the action getting underway again.

“Istanbul Park is a great track and provides a good challenge for the drivers. It's anti-clockwise and has a lot of gradient changes and different corner layouts, so it's quite nice to drive. I know that the team have been working very hard to continue the progress that we made during the last race weekend in China and, with the help of some developments planned for Istanbul, I am confident that we can enjoy an equally positive weekend.”



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
15.04.2011- Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
16.04.2011- Saturday, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
17.04.2011- Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
08.04.2011- Friday Practice 2, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
08.04.2011- Friday Practice 2, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
14.04.2011- Press conference, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
10.04.2011- Race, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02 leads Timo Glock (GER), Marussia Virgin Racing VR-02
14.04.2011- Nico Rosberg (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
16.04.2011- Saturday, Nico Rosberg (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
15.04.2011- Friday Practice 2, Nico Rosberg (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
15.04.2011- Friday Practice 2, Nico Rosberg (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
25.03.2011- Friday Practice 2, Nico Rosberg (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
25.03.2011- Friday Practice 1, Nico Rosberg (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
25.03.2011- Friday Practice 1, Nico Rosberg (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
24.03.2011- Nico Rosberg (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02 and Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
24.03.2011- Nico Rosberg (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02 and Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
Nico Rosberg (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team and Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team - Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team MGP W02 Launch - Formula 1 World Championship
24.03.2011- Nico Rosberg (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02 and Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02

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brendan - Unregistered

April 30, 2011 12:56 AM

mike i disliked michael first time around i really did, what he did to damon still makes me angry. but im smart enough to realise his talent is NEVER in doubt. perhaps the 94 was car iffy, ok it probably was. but beyond that please name me an illegal car? other than the tyre situation of 03, but that wasnt michaels fault. and you talk about senna, do u actually remember anything from the time? his death as tragic as it is has blinded people to the truth. His 'tactics' pushed prost out and from then on did he ever have a decent team mate? No. and would a true champion hold his team to ransom as he did in 93 with his race per race contract? im not having a pop. just stating the obvious. cos some people seem to forget racers from the past werent all perfect. all champions have the small chinks in their armour.

brendan - Unregistered

April 29, 2011 2:06 PM

well michael blew him away in malaysia. lets not forget michael had issues in qualy of both malaysia and china. his race pace has been close to rosberg. he drove very well in china battling with fernando all race long. which considering he started 14th is quite a recovery. i think a good result is on the cards. Rosberg is driving well tho.



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